Biotechnology became an enabling technology in the whole spectrum of life-sciences. Resulting in an explosion of new techniques and products this last decade. But how to stay on grip with these revolutionary developments? How disruptive are these new tools and how to avoid sterile pro-contra discussions?
Speakers: Bert Lotz and Rene Smulders.
These fast technical developments open a lot of possibilities for directions of research. It is not only possible to modify a single gene, we are now able to edit and write the genome we want. But how to choose then in this vast array of developments? What are the near future possibilities with CRISPR-CAS, RNAi and synthetic biology? What are the chances and challenges for agrosystems, for breeding and for product chains? And which questions does the research field ask itself in the light of responsible innovation and what do they ask then from policy and society?
Bert Lotz is team leader Applied Ecology at Wageningen UR (Agrosystems). From 1996 onwards, he studies, together with colleagues, commissioned by the government, the opportunities and threats for more sustainable agriculture by genetic modificated crops. As researcher he plays a facilitating role in public debates around the use of new technology in agriculture. Therefore he speaks with governments, employers, companies, NGO’s en other groups in society interested in agriculture, technology development and sustainable development..
Rene Smulders is business unit manager and group leader Biodiversity at Wageningen UR (Plant Breeding). His group develops and uses advanced technologies to analyze genetic diversity and perform allele mining. Genetic diversity is one of the most important components in species survival and ecosystem resilience and the basis for the improvement of agricultural crops. Their research has to increase insight in the structure of genetic diversity of plants and animals and to make optimal use of its potentials in breeding of new agricultural and horticultural varieties.