Research programme on biological resources in agriculture

2016 CRP-Sponsored Conferences


In 2016, 8 conferences were sponsored by the Co-operative Research Programme.

1.    Updated Diagnosis and Epidemiology of Animal Prion Diseases for Food Safety and Security, Tokyo, Japan, 10 May 2016 

This conference on upgrading knowledge of diagnostic tests for prion agents is highly relevant to public health and has implications in trade policy. The issue of the appearance of prion precursors and their transfer between different farm (and wild) species is an important aspect that should be taken into account to control the risk of introducing prion-based diseases in the food chain. The basic scientific facts about animal susceptibility and interspecies transmissibility, as well as the availability of sensitive diagnostic tests for prion agents will help refine risk assessment and predictability.

Conference organisers' report

 2.    7th World Fisheries Congress: Session on Genomics for improved fisheries management and conservation: have the promises been fulfilled (Session 1), Busan, Korea, 23-27 May 2016 

The area of science covered in this one day symposium – genomics applications in fisheries – is of high importance in both traditional species conservation and fish biotechnology, and due to the growing demand for fisheries based food. It will review current research applying genomics to marine conservation, biosecurity, sustainability of the utilisation of aquatic resources, new species for aquaculture, traceability of seafood products, and fisheries management and aquaculture, including potential policy applications and enforcement.

Conference organisers' report


Bernatchez et al. (2017), Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Volume 32, Issue 9, pp 665-680, "Harnessing the Power of Genomics to Secure the Future of Seafood", Elsevier (Open Access);

 3.    Vulnerability of Agricultural Production Networks and Global Food Value Chains due to Natural Disasters, Vienna, Austria, 20-24 June 2016  

This conference is on the highly relevant topic of increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters resulting in major economic losses and their at times long term disruption to agricultural production systems. Increasingly globalised food production systems when disrupted have impacts on local, regional and global levels. The conference will contribute to a holistic understanding on the interdependencies of natural disasters and their direct or indirect consequences on agricultural production.

Conference organisers' report

 4.    Biological Invasions in Forests, Shepherdstown, WV, USA, 19-21 July 2016

This conference proposes to synthesise knowledge from different fields and develop management strategies and policies to address the threat of biological invasions in forests. This is an increasingly important issue since invasions of alien species are causing significant damage in forests and they are likely to increase through changing climate and greater connections through trade. Co-ordinated international measures and awareness are needed to make ground here. The conference will directly inform stakeholders and policy makers on the nature of the problems and policy options.

Conference organisers' report

 5.    Genome Editing and the Future of Farming, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, 6 September 2016 

The advent of new techniques for introducing precise changes in genomes has opened many new opportunities for applications in agricultural research, and may eventually lead to profound changes in the way genetic improvement of farm animals is achieved. In view of the many implications of the use of genome editing techniques, this conference provides an appropriately timed discussion about genome editing in farm animals and should foresee not only the opportunities is offers, but also the potential problems and the policy-related issues it raises.

Conference organisers' report


NIB (2017), National Institutes of Bioscience Journal, Volume 1, “Genome Editing and the Future of Farming”, Edinburgh University Library Open Journals;

Hoyos-Flight, M., et al. (2017), Transgenic Research, "Genome Editing and the Future of Farming meeting report", Volume 26, Issue 2, pp. 319-321, Springer;


 6.    Virtual Water in Agricultural Products: Quantification, Limitations and Trade Policy, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA, 14-16 September 2016

This conference deals with the high profile topic of water availability and efficiency of use and appears to bring a new approach to water questions. Among other things, it will clarify the meaning of blue, green and grey waters and will elucidate the accounting methods for embedded waters in agricultural products by accounting for the return water to the aquifers and the recycling of evaporated moisture from crop and soil surface.

Conference organisers' report

 7.    Environmental release of engineered pests: Building an international governance framework, Raleigh, NC, USA, 4-6 October 2016 

This conference deals with the emerging, high profile and fast developing issues associated with emerging genetic technologies which open up major regulatory and ethical concerns.  It will identify social, ethical and regulatory levers and barriers to govern emerging genetic pest management technologies, share international experiences and lessons around regulation and risk assessment of those technologies and catalyse international co-operation in addressing the complex issues.

Conference organisers' report

Proceedings forthcoming.

 8.    International Symposium on Food Safety (ISFS): New Tools to Detect and Prevent Foodborne Outbreaks from Farm to Fork, Santiago, Chile, 5-7 December 2016

This timely symposium focuses on the use of recently developed technologies for the detection of foodborne pathogens in the environment. It will cover the full spectrum of future improvements in food safety from irrigation water through production systems and supply chains to the plate. The novel techniques and their application, the processing of the information gathered and its relevance for policy making will be examined.

Conference organisers' report



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