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NEWS RELEASE

05-02-01

Contacts:
Gary Comstock, Philosophy and Religious Studies, (515) 294-0054
Teddi Barron, News Service, (515) 294-4778


IOWA STATE PROFESSOR TO SPEAK IN ISRAEL ON ETHICS OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS

AMES, Iowa -- A plant biotechnology symposium in Israel will feature an Iowa State University professor who will speak on the ethical issues surrounding genetically modified food.

Gary Comstock, professor of philosophy and religious studies and coordinator of the bioethics program at Iowa State, will speak Monday, May 14, at "Plant Biotechnology: Its Benefits Versus Its Risks." The symposium is presented by The Manna Institute for Plant Sciences at Tel Aviv University.

Comstock will talk about the dilemma posed by genetically modified food. He will discuss research conducted by ISU economics professor Dermot Hayes.

Hayes' research suggests that when consumers are presented with both positive and negative information about GM foods, they will reject the GM food, Comstock said.

"This presents a potential moral dilemma for those of us committed to telling both sides of the story. Imagine that widespread rejection of GM foods led to harm to the least advantaged among us -- children of the developing world. In that case, having both sides of the story available to the public would have led to a result that none of us desires: further misery for those children," he said. "I regard this puzzle as a genuine problem. How do we honor our duty to speak the truth, while also honoring our duty to change society to help those most in need?"

Comstock will speak at the Jerusalem College of Technology before returning to Ames on May 16.



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