Public talk

In the course of the German Conference on Bioinformatics 2009, Dr. Theo van Hintum will give a talk on

The role of bioinformatics in a global attempt to fight hunger

This talk is open to the general public and will take place on

Tuesday, September 29th


Like all farmers, the farmers in the developing world face large agricultural challenges. But unlike their colleagues from the North, they not always have the resources to tackle these challenges. Especially with the ever increasing problem of drought in these times of climate change, access to the proper tools is paramount since access to improved plants is a critical tipping point between healthy and hungry families.

By using advances in molecular biology and harnessing the rich global stocks of crop genetic resources, the Generation Challenge Programme (GCP) of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) aims to offer options to breeders in the developing world. Through its five Subprogrammes, GCP supports the creation of a new generation of plants that meet farmer needs. Using cutting edge genomics, it identifies potentially useful genes and puts them in appropriate genetic backgrounds for use by local breeders. It develops molecular marker for marker assisted breeding, and facilitates the use of these markers by local breeders by creating the appropriate human and laboratory capacity.

In the public talk the Generation Challenge Programme will be presented, highlighting the role of bioinformatics in this global attempt to fight hunger.

Theo van Hintum

Dr Theo van Hintum, a Dutch national, studied plant breeding at Wageningen University, and got his PhD from the Swedish Agricultural University in Uppsala. He has a long experience in all aspects of genetic resources management, resulting in a variety of papers about many crops and technologies. However, it was always related to genebank methodology: information management, quantitative genetics, and the development and application of new technologies from Information and Communication Technology and molecular biology. He is a welcomed speaker at international meetings in the fields of genetic resources management, biometry, and bioinformatics. At the start of the Generation Challenge Programme in January 2004, he joined the program as the manager for bioinformatics and crop information systems. For a short while he even acted as interim director, so he knows the program from within. And although he left the management team of GCP last year, he still feels closely connected to its aims and approaches without losing his critical attitude.