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GMO Panel: What broader ethical issues relate to and conflict with issues of Food Safety and Security?

Ethics of Genetically Modified Organisms (G.M.O.’s): Food Security vs. Environmental Impact
When Oct 13, 2014
from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM
Where 102 Paterno Library, University Park, PA 16802
Contact Name
Contact Phone 814-863-5911
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Much of the public debate around genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been the subject of hot debate. Environmental impacts of GMO development have often been overshadowed by concerns about food safety. This is in spite of consistent scientific evidence that such concerns are more driven by hype than understanding.

This panel discussion is the conclusion of a two-day workshop and will explore these broader ethical issues as they relate to and conflict with issues of food safety and security.

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Why is the Rock Ethics Institute involved?

As a central hub of ethics research and education at Penn State, the Rock Ethics Institute is proud to host this event. Several of our own researchers deeply involved in social, ethical, and legal implications of technologies like those involved in genetic modification and are working to bring together other voices from peer institutions to discuss this topic.

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This event is approved for SARI@PSU participation credit.


Other Ways to Participate

If you are unable to attend the live panel, we do have other options. We will be streaming the event live (SARI@PSU participation credit not available unless prior approval granted from SARI@PSU) via MediaSites and we will also be Live Tweeting the event. You will be able to ask questions and interact with us on Twitter.

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*No need to register if you are only watching the stream.

GMO Panel

This two-day workshop will end with a panel discussion. The panelists are Dr. Bart Gremmen, Dr. Dave Mortenson, Dr. Paul Thompson and Dr. Kyle Whyte.

Dr. Bart Gremmen

Bart GremmenBart Gremmen is professor of Ethics in Life Sciences at Wageningen University and Senior Research Associate at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, University of Oxford. He manages the society clusters in the Centre for BioSystems Genomics. His research areas include normative and applied ethics, philosophy of technology, philosophy of science, and
technology assessment. His current research focuses on the ethical and societal issues in emerging technologies, genomics, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, synthetic biology. He published on a wide range of topics: sustainability, waste disposal, discursive psychology, the precautionary principle, de-domestication of animals, Novel Foods, theory
of practice, rules, pragmatism, celiac disease, allergy, consumer preferences, fruit and health.

Dr. Dave Mortensen

Dave MortensenDr. Dave Mortensen's research and teaching focuses on deepening our understanding of ecologically-informed agriculture with a particular focus on pest management. Mortensen’s ecologically-based research has been highlighted in international journals (129), Congressional testimony, numerous Congressional briefings and his selection to head up several national competitive grants programs in Washington, D.C. The work of his research team provides compelling evidence that over-reliance on ‘transgene facilitated silver bullet pest management’ is neither effective nor sustainable, points brought out in his recently published BioScience paper. Locally, Mortensen has chaired the Ecology Inter College Graduate Degree Program at Penn State, is the faculty advisor for the PSU Community Garden, is actively involved in the formation of the Penn State Student Farm and Sustainable Food Systems degree minor and a member of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture. Dr. Mortensen received a Master of Science degree from Duke University and a Ph.D. from North Carolina State University. He has served as a faculty member at the University of Nebraska and Penn State University.

Dr. Paul Thompson

Paul ThompsonDr. Thompson holds the W.K. Kellogg Chair in Agricultural Food, and Community Ethics at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. He has formerly held positions in philosophy at Texas A&M University and Purdue University. His research has centered on ethical and philosophical questions associated with agriculture and food, and especially concerning the guidance and development of agricultural techno-science.

This research focus has led him to undertake a series of projects on the application of recombinant DNA techniques to agricultural crops and food animals. Thompson published the first book length philosophical treatment of agricultural biotechnology in 1997 and revised in 2007, and has traveled the world speaking on the subject, delivering invited addresses in Egypt, Thailand, Taiwan, Mexico, Israel, and Jamaica, as well as a number of European countries. In addition to philosophical outlets, his work on biotechnology has appeared in technical journals including Plant Physiology, The Journal of Animal Science, Bio-science, and Cahiers d’ Economie et Sociologie Rurales. He serves on the United States National Research Council’s Agricultural Biotechnology Advisory Council and on the Science and Industry Advisory Committee for Genome Canada. Thompson’s new work focuses on nanotechnology in the agrifood system.

Dr. Kyle Whyte

Kyle WhyteKyle Whyte is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Michigan State University and affiliated faculty for Peace and Justice Studies, Environmental Science and Policy, the Center for Regional Food Systems, Animal Studies and American Indian Studies. He is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Dr. Whyte writes on environmental justice, the philosophy of technology and American Indian philosophy. His most recent research addresses moral and political issues concerning climate change impacts on Indigenous peoples. His articles have appeared in journals such as Climatic Change, Ecological Processes, Synthese, Human Ecology, Journal of Global Ethics, American Journal of Bioethics, Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics, Philosophy & Technology, Ethics, Policy & Environment, Environmental Justice, and Continental Philosophy Review. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center, the Sustainable Michigan Endowed Program and Spencer Foundation. He is a member of the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition and organizer for the annual Everybody Eats: Cultivating Food Democracy conference in Lansing, Michigan.