Since he left office, former U.S. President, Bill Clinton, has dedicated almost all his life championing the cause of the poor, here in America and abroad.
From winning concessions for cheaper drugs from multinational pharmaceutical companies to manage HIV/AIDS – the No. 1 killer disease in poor countries – to fundraising in aid of victims of Hurricane Katrina and Tsunami earthquake, President Clinton has joined the league of men and women who always nurse the dream of a world without hunger and diseases.
Last week, President Clinton continued his efforts when he advised delegates at the BIO 2006 Convention in Chicago to fight the culture of fear that seems to dominate the debate about modern biotechnology.
We should be driven by science, evidence and argument, not by assertion and fear.
President Clinton, a staunch supporter of genetic engineering during his presidency (and even now), reminded the delegates that everything we do to build a world that will be fit for our children and grand children will depend upon continued advances in biotechnology.
Modern biotechnology, as President Clinton puts it, is a technology that cant just be wished away by misrepresenting facts, a practice those opposed to this technology have perfected to an art.
Opponents of modern biotechnology and especially genetically engineered foods have taken it upon themselves to mislead and misrepresent. Such behavior only derails the drive to guarantee every man and woman in this world food.
Perhaps, nobody better understands the plight of the worlds poor than President Clinton. Hes a relentless globe trotter and has an eye-witness account of the sufferings of millions of hungry and malnourished children in Africa and Asia. All, then, should heed his advice that modern biotechnology holds the key to sustainable development .
President Clintons endorsement of modern biotechnology as a tool to enhance global food security must be taken very seriously.
The world must learn to take the facts as it finds them and keep trying to move humanity forward.
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Dr. Pardis Sabeti, Assistant Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
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Dr. Karen Nelson, Director, Rockville, Maryland, Campus of the J. Craig Venter Institute
Dr. Robert Fraley, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Monsanto Company
Note: A version of this video is available in the “Science in American Life” exhibition at the National Museum of American History.
Biotechnology at the Cutting Edge