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Cambridge Global Food Security

A Strategic Research Initiative of the University of Cambridge

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Food Futures in the World seminar series: Easter term

A continuation of the seminar series organised in association with the University of Cambridge Strategic Initiative in Global Food Security aimed to encompass several interdisciplinary topics surrounding global food futures. These seminars are aimed at undergraduate students from all disciplines and are also open to postgraduates and early career researchers.
When May 06, 2015
from 01:00 PM to 02:00 PM
Where Biffen Lecture Theatre, Department of Genetics, Downing Site
Contact Name
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The fifth seminar of the Food Futures in the World series 2015

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Professor Sir Brian Heap
Research Associate, Centre for Development Studies, University of Cambridge, former Master of St. Edmund’s College, and 
Project Leader, Biosciences for Farming in Africa
Can GM crops help to feed the world? 


All seminars are at 1.00 pm in the Biffen Lecture Theatre, Department of Genetics, Downing Site. (

Abstracts for the seminars are included below.

 For more details, see



Professor Sir Brian Heap
Can GM crops help to feed the world?

The reasons why food security has become such a key issue in the international agenda are numerous - demand exceeding supply, land use degradation, and sporadic price increases leading to social unrest. Currently the world has more than enough food, but some 1 billion people still go hungry. Food redistribution is only part of the solution. Appropriate and intermediate technologies all have their place, and conventional plant breeding remains as great an influence as it has for hundreds of years.

The advent of molecular plant breeding throws up core questions about what it is that scientists seek to do when building new genetic traits into seeds. Even though they can improve yield and disease resistance, and provide health promoting properties, solutions have provoked both hopes and fears. Do they result in a fundamentally altered relationship of humankind to nature?