The Golden Rice Project
Transgenic Plants for Food Security in the Context of Development
A Study Week under the sponsorship of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences
The event was held at the headquarters of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in the Casina Pio IV in the Vatican from 15 to 19 May 2009. During the course of the meeting, recent advances in the scientific understanding of novel varieties of genetically engineered (GE) plants were discussed, as well as the social conditions under which GE technology could be made available for the improvement of agriculture in general and for the benefit of the poor and vulnerable in particular.
The spirit of the participants was inspired by the same approach to technology that Benedict XVI expressed in a recent Encyclical, in particular that 'Technology is the objective side of human action, whose origin and raison d'être is found in the subjective element: the worker himself. For this reason, technology is never merely technology. It reveals man and his aspirations towards development, it expresses the inner tension that impels him gradually to overcome material limitations. Technology, in this sense, is a response to God's command to till and to keep the land (cf. Gen 2:15) that he has entrusted to humanity, and it must serve to reinforce the covenant between human beings and the environment, a covenant that should mirror God's creative love'.
The conclusions from the event are summarised in the document 'Transgenic Plants for Food Security in the Context of Development', signed by the participating members of the Pontifical Academy and the invited experts:
A truly humanitarian project
Ingo Potrykus awarded the 2007 Bertebos Prize for his work on Golden Rice
The Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry, entrusted by the Bertebos Foundation to elect the Bertebos Prize winner, selected Prof Ingo Potrykus as the 2007 winner of this recognition bequested upon individuals who have carried out research of distinguished quality and expected practical use within Food, Agriculture, Ecology or Animal Health.
The Bertebos Conference 2008 theme was "Golden Rice and other Biofortified food Crops for Developing Countries potential and challenges" in Falkenberg, Sweden, on 8-9 September 2008.
World Food Day Celebration at Syngenta, Basel, October 2004
"Rice for Hope" Conference, The Vatican, April 2004
European Open Science Forum (ESOF 2006), Munich
Ingo Potrykus meeting the audience at the event