Bill Clinton wants corn

The mood at linkurl:BIO yesterday;http://www.bio.org/ preceding Bill Clinton's speech felt more like a rock concert than a keynote address. In fact, I was very nearly carried away in a stampede when the conference organizers finally opened the barriers to the hall. When everyone finally got settled in, there was rapt attention during Clinton's 45-minute speech. True to form, he spoke with perfect organization, seamlessly citing statistics and facts without ever looking at notes. His theme for t

By | April 12, 2006

The mood at linkurl:BIO yesterday;http://www.bio.org/ preceding Bill Clinton's speech felt more like a rock concert than a keynote address. In fact, I was very nearly carried away in a stampede when the conference organizers finally opened the barriers to the hall. When everyone finally got settled in, there was rapt attention during Clinton's 45-minute speech. True to form, he spoke with perfect organization, seamlessly citing statistics and facts without ever looking at notes. His theme for the day: The world is in a state of ?interdependence.? We all interact with and affect each other, he said. But currently that interdependence is out of balance, and he called on the biotechnology industry to do what they can to restore equilibrium. Some of the tasks for the biotech community: Reduce the spread of infectious disease, curb the momentum of climate change, find better sources of energy, and engineer crops that can economically feed millions who remain undernourished. In a specific challenge, he asked the audience to look for alternatives to fructose made from corn, a key ingredient in soda that has been blamed of late for the exploding rates of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes. But making fructose from corn keeps many farmers employed, so the key is to find a replacement for fructose that doesn?t harm the farmers that make it, he said. As a call to arms and a bit of ego stroking, he explained: ?I think it?s unlikely this problem will be solved by anyone outside your line of work.?

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