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Biotechnology gatherings to discuss genetic engineering, disability issues
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May 28, 2002 -- The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), the trade group for the international biotechnology industry, is hosting BIO 2002, the 16th Annual International Biotechnology Convention & Exhibition, June 9-12 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario. It is said to be the world's largest biotechnology gathering, Two years ago, Christopher Reeve addressed the group; this year's speakers include John Davidson, author of "Jesse's Journey" who walked 8,300 kilometers across Canada to support medical research and as a tribute to his son, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy..

There will be a competing gathering as well -- The 6th Annual BioJustice/BioDiversity International Grassroots Gathering on Genetic Engineering. In this meeting, there will also be discussions on genetic engineering, genetic discrimination, and the future of stem cell research, but from a very different perspective. For the panel "A Biotech Future? Exposing the Truth," speakers include Dr. Nancy Olivieri, professor of pediatrics at the University of Toronto, and head of the thalassemia and sickle-cell anemia research programs at the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children, and Dr. Gregor Wolbring, research scientist, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary; member of the Ethics working group of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and founder of The International Network on Bioethics and Disability.

At BIO2002, A series of Policy/Ethics workshops, sponsored by Pfizer Inc, will include one on "Protection of Human Research Subjects," which will look at possible changes to the existing system that protects participants in clinical trials, including informed consent, IRB review and conflict of interest; another, on stem cell research will look at the business, ethical, legal and public communications dimensions of stem cell research, as well as "implications of this decision for the cutting-edge research to develop cell-based therapies for a broad array of diseases." To read more about these and BIO2002's other panels, go to

For an overview of the BIO2002 meeting, go to

To read more about the BioJustice/BioDiversity gathering, go to

To visit Dr. Wolbring's site on Bioethics, Disability and Society, go to

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