Public Release: 

Presentation of Dr. Ingo Potrykus July 21 in Providence

American Society of Plant Biologists

PROVIDENCE, RI, -- The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) will present the ASPB Leadership in Science Public Service Award to Dr. Ingo Potrykus July 21, 2001 at the ASPB annual meeting in Providence.

The award recognizes Dr. Potrykus' outstanding contributions to science and humanity through his research. Dr. Potrykus' research contributes to food security in developing nations by developing and applying genetic engineering technology to crop plants such as rice, wheat, sorghum and cassava. Dr. Potrykus addresses problems difficult to solve with traditional techniques in the areas of plant disease and pest resistance, improved food quality, improved yield, improved exploitation of natural resources and improved biosafety.

Dr. Potrykus has genetically modified rice (Golden Rice) to have higher levels of beta carotene that could address Vitamin A deficiencies of people in developing nations where rice is the staple of their daily diets. Beta carotene converts to Vitamin A after human consumption.

Dr. Potrykus' tremendous contributions to plant science and society have been recognized in science journals and in the general media. As Time magazine noted in its cover story on Swiss Professor Potrykus and on Golden Rice, "this rice could save a million kids a year...but protesters believe such genetically modified foods are bad for us and our planet" Golden Rice could potentially save nearly 500,000 children a year from being stricken blind from Vitamin A deficiencies in their diet.

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The Leadership in Science Public Service Award will be presented 6 p.m. Saturday, July 21 in the Rhode Island Convention Center, Providence, Rhode Island. Potrykus will discuss new developments in his research and recent public reactions to Golden Rice during the Perspectives of Science Leaders program immediately following the award presentation. For information on press registration for the ASPB annual meeting July 21-25 and for information on contacting Dr. Potrykus by phone before and after the meeting, contact Brian Hyps at ASPB at 301-251-0560, ext. 114 or at bhyps@aspb.org

Founded in 1924, ASPB is a non-profit science society representing more than 5,000 plant scientists. ASPB publishes two of the three most widely cited plant science journals in the world, The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology. ASPB, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, changed its name from the American Society of Plant Physiologists this year to reflect the broader diversity of plant scientists in its membership.

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