The 29th International Horticultural Congress | Sustaining Lives, Livelihoods and Landscapes | 17-22 August 2014

Welcome to the 3rd International Genetically Modified Organisms in Horticulture Symposium – Past, Present and Future

The Symposium will be sponsored by ISHS Commission Molecular Biology and In Vitro Culture

Within the framework of the 29th International Horticultural Congress to be held in Brisbane, Australia in 2014, the 1-day Symposium on “GMOs in horticulture – past, present and future” will provide a forum to present and discuss the sometimes contentious issue of GMOs in horticulture.

Abstracts are invited on the following themes:

  • Biosafety regulation systems – a straightjacket to progress or necessary caution?
  • Legislation and intellectual property – who gains, how mobile are genes?
  • Pest, disease and herbicide resistance – have we really enhanced sustainability?
  • GMOs in developing countries – have they delivered tangible results?
  • Exploitation and progress of GMOs – over sold, exciting opportunities or a dead end?
  • Science, consumers, agribusiness, environmentalists – consensus or anarchy?


Dr. Bart Panis’ research focuses on plant tissues culture with all its possible applications; cryopreservation, somatic embryogenesis, protoplast culture and transformation. In 1994, he co-developed the world’s first transgenic banana. Additionally, he co-ordinated many international projects dealing with plant cryopreservation and developed with Bioversity International the world banana cryobank. In 2013, he started working for Bioversity International.

Prof. Dr. Trine Hvoslef-Eide has studied tissue culture, storage of in vitro cultures, somatic embryogenesis, protein markers, genetic transformation, bioreactor cultures, ornamental plant breeding (begonia) and developmental studies on abscission using poinsettia as a model plant (inducible system). In 1993-94 she worked as an advisor on the Gene Technology Act with the Competent Authority on deliberate release of GMO in Norway, the Royal Ministry of Environment. Presently she is Professor and Head of the Imaging Centre in Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB).

Dr. Violeta Villegas is currently Seeds Regulatory Manager for Syngenta, covering cultivation countries in Asia-Pacific. Violy liaises with countries to responsibly introduce biotech traits into the market. Prior to joining Syngenta in 2002, she was a Research Professor at the Institute of Plant Breeding in the University of the Philippines Los Banos. She taught undergraduate and graduate courses in Plant Breeding and utilized biotechnology tools in her breeding work.

Keynote Speaker

Jeff Stein serves as the Asia Coordinator and Biosafety Advisor for the USAID funded Program for Biosafety Systems. In this role, Jeff provides biosafety and regulatory support for public sector research programs and regulators in developing countries in Africa and Asia. He consults with regulatory agencies as they draft biosafety-related legislation, enabling regulations, and guidance documents. He shares his 25+ years of global biosafety experience with national agricultural research centers and academic institutions to build in-country scientific capacity to set guidelines for and comply with confined field trial guidelines. Jeff is also a Biosafety Advisor associated with the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, in St Louis, MO. Prior to this, he was Director of Regulatory Affairs for a private company. He works mostly in Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Jeff has served on numerous domestic and international committees that set standards for managing crops derived through biotechnology and has overseen stewardship activities. He enjoys the opportunity of working with experienced scientists in developing countries to address the political and scientific challenges to the adoption of a technology that can reduce malnutrition and disease, as well as improving the economic well-being of millions of people in developing countries.

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