A Belgian expert on biosafety has called on public sector scientists to band together in an effort to become a stronger influence at the next major meeting of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. The protocol aims to protect biodiversity by setting guidelines for the import and export of living modified organisms (LMOs).

In an interview with The Scientist, Willy De Greef said that he was not opposed to an agreement regulating genetically modified organisms. "We need an international agreement that harmonizes international movement of LMOs," he said. "I am not going on a crusade against the Cartagena Protocol."

But De Greef, former global head of biotechnology regulatory affairs at Syngenta and now a private consultant, said the protocol in its current form severely limits the ability of scientists in public institutions to conduct biotechnology research that could help feed people in the developing world.

Thus far, the public...

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