WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As farmers enter the second decade of commercial plantings of biotech crops, the BIO 2006 Annual International Convention will highlight the future of agricultural biotechnology.

Conference attendees will learn how new applications of biotechnology will increase food production, improve plant and animal health, and provide consumers with healthier foods during the 14th annual international convention, April 9-12, 2006, at McCormick Place in Chicago.

"In the 10 years since biotech crops have first been grown, the environment, farmers, and consumers worldwide have enjoyed many new benefits," said Jim Greenwood, president and CEO of BIO, which sponsors the convention. "Biotech crops are widely accepted by farmers in 21 countries, and have had an enormous global economic impact. Few technologies have had the extraordinary acceptance and growth rate that biotech crops have enjoyed.

"Agricultural biotechnology has changed the way farmers grow crops, and raise and breed livestock and poultry. The next generation of biotech products will offer consumers increased nutrition and health benefits, such as cereals and corns with improved protein quality, and soybeans that produce healthier oils with reduced saturated fat and trans fats."

The Food and Agriculture track at BIO 2006 is the largest and most comprehensive agricultural biotechnology track ever in BIO's history. The program features 17 sessions within the four subtracks: Plant Biotechnology, Animal Biotechnology, Emerging Technologies, and Second Generation Products and Consumer Benefits.

For the first time, BIO 2006 will feature the International Food and Agricultural Seminars on Sunday, April 9 as part of the International Program. The International Food and Agriculture Seminars will provide representatives from Australia, China, the European Union, India, Japan, and New Zealand to discuss plant and animal biotechnology projects currently underway in their respective countries.

Additionally, the Food and Agriculture Pavilion on the exhibit floor will showcase the role biotechnology has played in revolutionizing agriculture throughout the food chain. On display in the pavilion will be a living field of biotech corn plants, farmers from developing countries who will discuss the benefits of biotech crops, and the Green Kitchen, a kitchen built with materials from bioproducts.

Registration is available online, as is the list with descriptions of sessions on food and agriculture issues planned throughout the conference.

BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and 31 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.

SOURCE: Biotechnology Industry Organization via PR Newswire.