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“The Biotech Context.”
(March 13th, 2006, Chan Shun Concert Hall, Chan Centre)

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David Suzuki is an award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster; and is well known to millions as the host of CBC’s popular science television series, The Nature of Things. An internationally respected geneticist, David Suzuki was a full Professor at the University of British Columbia from 1969 until his retirement in 2001. Currently, he is a professor emeritus with UBC’s Sustainable Development Research Institute, and through his role as chair of the David Suzuki Foundation, is widely recognized as a world leader in sustainable ecology. David Suzuki has received numerous awards for his work, including a UNESCO prize for science, a United Nations Environment Program medal and the Order of Canada. He has 15 honorary doctorates from universities in Canada, the US and Australia. As well, for his work in support of Canada’s First Nations people, David Suzuki has received many tributes and has been honoured with five names and the formal adoption by two tribes. He is the author of more than 40 books, the most recent of which is entitled David Suzuki. The Autobiography (April 2006).

David writes, “As a geneticist, I am thrilled and excited with the profound insights and manipulative powers acquired by molecular biologists. I am absolutely sure there will be important applications that will be derived from this technological prowess. However, I also believe it is far too premature to begin to apply these techniques for medical treatments, food; or to condone the release of manipulated organisms into the wild (like salmon or trees). While our acquisition of knowledge has been stunning, biotechnology is an infant field where our technological dexterity has not been matched by our understanding of the complex interactions and interconnections that make an organism and community of organisms what they are. Nor does this knowledge guarantee its confident and ethical use in the arenas of economics or politics. In this talk, I will present my case for the hazards of our current rush to apply this limited knowledge.”

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