More about Jack A. Heinemann

Jack Heinemann is a professor of genetics and molecular biology in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. Jack was previously a staff fellow at the US National Institutes of Health. He received his BSc with honors in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a PhD in molecular biology from the University of Oregon.

Jack received the ICAAC Young Investigator Award from the American Society for Microbiology in 1993 and was the recipient of the New Zealand Association of Scientists Research Medal in 2002. He was appointed to the UN Roster of Biosafety Experts in 2005. Jack has published broadly in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, authored invited works for the UN FAO and IAASTD, and has advised various government agencies in several countries.


"While genetic engineering for the production of transgenic crops holds promise, there is much agreement that genetic engineering’s promise has not paid sufficient dividends while it has been within such restricted legal frameworks as patent systems and left to private sector incentive systems. Nevertheless, the Assessment came to the conclusion that genetic engineering should continue to contribute to research and development. Genetic engineering applied as a research tool to help understand the complex interplay between genes, physiology and environment is profoundly important. But not all science relevant to technology has to become a technology in the process, or result in a particular product such as GM plants."

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"There is no conclusive data from either developed or developing country agroecosystems to support generic claims that GM crops increase yield or revenue. It is undoubtedly true that any cultivar, transgenic or not, will produce more or less depending on year, location and other variables. GM crops are not being asked to achieve a higher standard than conventional on this point. However, any general claim that GM crops will reliably produce more than conventional in the same environments is not scientifically substantiated...The authors of the Assessment thus had reason to step back from endorsing bold claims of enhanced yield and/or revenue gains from existing commercial GM crops...Are other technologies
more reliable and as promising? There is solid evidence for optimism that biotechnologies that do not include modern biotechnology but do make use of modern molecular tools can make the advances that are needed, again provided that we do not rely upon technology alone. These technologies are discussed in Chapter Seven, and needed associated changes in trade and IPR regimes are discussed in Chapter Eight."

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Subpages (1): Brief CV