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Winter 2002

Boning up on biotech
By Mindy Reef


Image: Purdue Agricultural Biotechnology

Whether you're looking for a definition of biotechnology or you want to find out if genetically modified crops might be in your food, Purdue Agriculture has developed a Web site that answers the fundamental questions about biotechnology in agriculture.

"People were asking us for this kind of information," says site editor Rebecca Goetz. "The Web site provides a central location to find it."

Among the topics addressed are:

  • definition and history of biotechnology
  • ethical, economic and environmental concerns
  • advantages and risks of transgenic crops
  • viewpoints of both proponents and opponents
  • the roles of federal agencies in regulating biotechnology

Additionally, the site links to a self-study course on agricultural biotechnology.

"Agriculture is an international activity. We need to understand that, worldwide, people have different attitudes than the average U.S. citizen about biotechnology," says Peter Goldsbrough, professor of horticulture, who helped develop the site.

The site is a joint project by faculty and staff in Purdue's horticulture, agricultural and biological engineering, agricultural communication and philosophy departments.


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