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MARCO-FFTC Joint International Workshop 2013 on
Benefits and Risks of Genetically Modified Food Crops in Asia
(October 8-10, 2013, Tsukuba, Japan)

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Date:  8-10 October 2013

Venue:  Tsukuba International Congress Center (Epochal Tsukuba) Tsukuba, Japan

Participation Fee:   Free with advanced registration

Language:   English

Organized by:

National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences (NIAES)

Food and Fertilizer Technology Center (FFTC)

Supported by:

College of Agriculture, Ibaraki University

National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences (NIAS)


The UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) estimates that global food production will need to increase by 40% by 2030 to support much of the population growth that will take place in the developing world as people move from rural to urban areas. Currently, two-thirds of the world’s poor reside in Asia and the Pacific region and a recent sharp rise in food prices is bringing food shortages to the region’s poor. Following the world unprecedented rise in cereal prices in 2007 to 2008, the global food prices have hit a new peak in the first quarter of 2011. It is a matter of urgency, therefore, to establish sustainable food security systems in Asia and the Pacific region. Compounded with a dwindling natural resource base during a time of global warming and climate change, food productivity increases with genetically modified (GM) crops in global agriculture becomes one of vitally important means to ensure sufficient availability of food and other raw materials for the growing population.

In this case, GM crop is a plant used for the agricultural purposes into which one or several genes coding for desirable traits have been inserted into the recipient plant through the process of recombinant DNA technology. These genes may originate not only from the same or other plant species, but also from organisms unrelated to the recipient crop. The first GM crops became available in the mid-1990s. Since then, the adoption and commercial planting of GM food crops are on a rising trend globally, making an important contribution to the development of crop production systems that reduces the risk of crop losses due to insects and weeds, requires fewer pesticide applications, and increases the yields for all types of farmers in developed and developing countries. GM crops now occupy over 10% of the world's arable land.

The crop traits targeted in genetic engineering are not completely different from those pursued by conventional breeding. Nonetheless, because genetic engineering allows for the direct gene transfer across species boundaries, some traits that were previously difficult or impossible to introduce through introgression in conventional breeding can now be developed with relative ease. World-wide on-going research and development for the coming generations of GM crops include improved quality traits such as higher nutrient contents of food products to help improve the health status of consumers, crops modified to produce special substances for pharmaceutical or industrial purposes, and crops designed to be heat, drought or salt tolerance for adapting to climate change, or toward no-till farming methods, reducing fuel use and CO2 emissions so as to help mitigate climate change and bring about environmental integrity. Some of them are in the pipeline for commercial production.

In spite of manifold potentials, the development and use of GM crops have raised some concerns about their potential adverse effects on human health and environmental integrity that resulted in the complex socioeconomic and political issues. Nonetheless, as GM crops become increasingly prevalent on the global market, it is imperative for producers, consumers, regulators and other stakeholders in Asian countries to understand the potential and regulatory implications of this new trend. In order to fill in the information gap on these issues, especially in view of risks and benefits, the Food and Fertilizer Technology Center (FFTC) for the Asian and Pacific Region and the National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences (NIAES) in Japan join hands to collaborate with the Monsoon Asia Agro-Environmental Research Consortium (MARCO) and other international/regional partners to organize the proposed workshop.



The Detailed Program   (PDF file 0.3 MB)

Day 1:   October 8, 2013 (Tuesday)

Study tour for overseas participants

The tour will visit isolated GM crop experimental fields and Inventory gallery at National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences; Genebank of National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences and so forth.

Day 2:   October 9, 2013 (Wednesday)   9:00-17:30

Opening ceremony

Keynote Session

GM Crops for Food Security in Developing Countries
Josette Lewis (World Food Center, USA)

Session 1:   Overview of Development and Production of GM Crops

Commercial GM Food Crop Production and its Future Perspective
Randy A. Hautea (ISAAA, Philippines)

Targeted Modification of Plant Genomes
Seiichi Toki (NIAS, Japan)

Session 2:   Promising GM Technologies for Plant Protection

Development of Disease Resistant Rice using WRKY45, A Key Transcription Factor of Rice Defense Mechanism
Hiroshi Takatsuji (NIAS, Japan)

Current Status of Late Blight Resistant (LBR) Potato Research in Confined Fields Trials in Indonesia
Muhammad Herman (ICABIOGRAD, Indonesia)

Transgenic Papaya for Ring Spot Virus Resistance
Parichart Burns (BIOTEC, Thailand)

Herbicide Resistance in Canola: An Essential Tool for Weed Management in Australia
Christopher Preston (University of Adelaide, Australia)

Insect Resistant Eggplant Expressing Bt Genes in India
Vanga Siva Reddy (ICGBE, India)

Field Trials of Insect Resistant Maize Expressing Bt Gene in Vietnam
Nguyen Van Liem (Plant Protection Research Institute, Vietnam)

Maize Stacked with Genetically Modified Events in the Philippines
Saturnina C. Halos (DA-BAT, Philippines)

Development of Marker-Free Transgenic Plants
Ayako Nishizawa-Yokoi (NIAS, Japan)

Day 3:   October 10, 2013 (Thursday)   9:00-17:30

Session 3:   Promising GM Technologies on Environment and Human Health

Cloning and Expression Analysis of Genes and Field Evaluation of Salt Tolerant Genetically Modified Wheat (Triticum aestivum)
Nasir Ahmad Saeed (NIBGE, Pakistan)

Exploiting Drought-Inducible Genes Encoding Transcription Factors for Drought Tolerant Crops
Kazuko Yamaguchi-Shinozaki (Tokyo University, Japan)

GM Corn Expressing Phytase Gene in China
Chunyi Zhang (BRI-CAAS, China)

MIPS and PAPgenes in Mungbean: Paving the Way to Success in Friendly Environment and Improving Animal Nutrition
Sutkhet Nakasathien (Kasetsart University, Thailand)

Development of Rice Seed-based Allergy Vaccine for Treatment of Japanese Cedar Pollen Allergy
Fumio Takaiwa (NIAS, Japan)

Oral Immunogenicity of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus Antigen Expressed in Transgenic Plants
Pung-Ling Huang (National Taiwan University, Taiwan)

Comparative Analysis of Nutritional Composition of β-carotene Biofortified Rice with Phytoene Synthase and Carotene Desaturase Genes and its Non-transgenic Counterpart
Yunsoo Yeo (National Academy of Agriculture, South Korea)

Session 4:   Risk Assessment of GM Crop Production

General View of Environmental Impact Assessment of Genetically Modified Crop
Yasuhiro Yogo (NIAES, Japan)

Safety Assessment of GM Food Crops and Derived Food and Feed
Willem Seinen (Utrecht University, Netherland)

Environmental Impacts and Management Issues of GM Crops: Science/Regulatory Interaction in Comparative Perspective
Masashi Tachikawa (Ibaraki University, Japan)

Biological Impact Assessments for Genetically Modified Crops and Their Proper Managements in Japan
Hiroyuki Shibaike (NIAES, Japan)

Panel Discussion and Closing Session

Panel Discussion   (Chaired by Yasuhiro Yogo (NIAES) and George Kuo (FFTC))
Benefit and Potential Risks for Releasing GM Crops into the Production Field in the Asian Region

Poster Presentations

Poster presentations will be provided on the related research results.


Yasuhiro YOGO (Principal Research Coordinator)

National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences (NIAES)

3-1-3 Kannondai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8604, Japan

Phone: (+81)-29-838-8244   FAX: (+81)-29-838-8199


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