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Genome Editing – Potential for Transforming agricultural development in LAC

October 17 @ 8:00 am - October 18 @ 5:00 pm

DuPont Plant Sciences Symposia series

Greetings from sunny Palmira, Colombia! The DuPont Plant Sciences Symposia series has been reaching the next generation of plant scientists since 2008. This year CIAT, in collaboration with Colombian partner institutions, are pleased to host this distinguished symposium geared towards exploring genome editing and its potential for transforming agricultural development in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

The symposium will bring together national and international speakers who will address applications of genome editing in agriculture during their presentations. The symposium will be open to the public but aims to attract particularly students and experts from across LAC.

One week before the Symposium there will be a Webinar for registered attendees that may want to get basic information on Genome Editing (People who register for the symposium should also commit to participate in the webinar).

Why genome editing

Genome editing, using DNA nucleases that allow mutations to be accurate, planned, permanent, and inheritable, with minimum probability of error and without leaving foreign DNA sequences behind, is the most modern technology to fast-track basic research and plant breeding. The technology not only makes possible precise genome editing to achieve desirable traits, but also allows us to question the genome to assign or discover gene functions. The following are concrete examples from ongoing work by CIAT’s research team, who started experimenting with rice, cassava, and bean genome editing back in 2014.

  • Rice: resistance to viruses and bacteria, nutritional quality, hybrid seed.
  • Cassava: starch quality, resistance to herbicides.
  • Beans: nutritional quality.
  • Diagnosis: early detection of pathogens.

What is the symposia series of DuPont Plant Sciences?

  • It is an opportunity for the next generation of scientists interact with the public and private sectors through student events promoted and organized in different academic institutions.
  • Events and presentations facilitated by leading plant scientists, poster sessions, panel discussions and countless opportunities for networking.
  • The symposium is free and accessible to the general public.


Why should you sign up?

Over 50 Dupont Plant Series events have been conducted worldwide reaching over 8,000 participants since 2008. These knowledge exchanges have provided several students with the opportunity to gain vital skills while expanding their understanding of plant science.

Sign up here.

One week before the Symposia there will be a Webinar for registered attendees that may want to get basic information on Genome Editing (People who register should commit to participate in the webinar).

Introductory Webinar program

Tuesday, October 10
10:10 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

  • Introduction to the webinar: Paul Chavarriaga
  • Introduction: Sandra P. Valdés and Alejandro Brand
  • Applications of Genome Editing:
    • María Fernanda Álvarez, CIAT – Rice
    • Mónica Carvajal, CIAT – Detection of diseases in agriculture
    • Jhon Jairo Barrera, Universidad de los Llanos and José Luis Moreno Ramírez, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Cali – Beans
    • Rubén Eduardo Mora, Universidad Nacional – Cassava
    • Pedro M. Hernández, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Cali – Errors in the human metabolism
  • Question and answers

Day 1

09:00 – 09:15  Welcome remarks:
– Introduction about the Symposia Series, objectives, history, accomplishments: Tabaré Abadie
– Member student from org committee: MarÍa Fernanda Álvarez, CIAT
09:15 – 10:00  Conference by Pioneer “Importance of plant breeding innovations”
10:00 – 10:45  Conference by CIAT: Joe Tohme, Research Area Director, Agrobiodiversity
10:45 – 11:15  Break
11:15 – 13:00  Applications of Genome Editing:
–  “Development of genome editing technologies for functional genomics and molecular breeding in plants”: Masaki Endo, Senior Researcher (2014-Present) Plant Genetic Engineering Research Unit, Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, Tsukuba, Japan.
–  “Transgene-free CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing methods”: Matthew R. Willmann, Ph.D., Director, Plant Transformation Facility, Cornell University
–  Aplication of genome editing in CIAT crops: Paul Chavarriaga, Sandra Valdez, María Fernanda Álvarez, CIAT
13:00 – 14:30  Lunch, booths and poster visits
14:30 – 16:00  Social perception of genome editing: Overcoming fears and myths: Panel discussion
–  Journalist: Ximena Serrano, Presidente de la Asociación Colombiana Periodismo Científico
–  Social perspective
–  Integridad científica
–  Intellectual property rights: Carolina Roa, CIAT IP consultant
16:30  Reception / Cocktail

Day 2: Knowledge Fair and Round Table

  • Poster feedback sessions for students and young researchers
  • Visits to CIAT Transformation Lab
  • Round table with university leaders: The future of genome editing in Colombian universities
  • One-on-one interaction with scientists.


  • Tabaré Abadia
  • María Federova
  • Claudia Peña Bustos



  • Postdoctoral Researcher in Rice: María Fernanda Álvarez
  • CIAT Postdoctoral Researcher in Virology: Mónica Carvajal
  • CIAT Transformation Platform: Sandra Valdés, Alejandro Brand, Mónica Prías, and Paul Chavarriaga
  • Knowledge Management: Simone Staiger


Agro-Bio: María Andrea Uscateguí, Executive Director

Universidad Javeriana-Cali: Pedro Hernández

Universidad Nacional: Rubén Eduardo Mora Moreno (MSc student)

Universidad del Valle: Adalberto Sánchez


CIAT Guest House
CIAT has a guest houses with 32 rooms for visitors who wish to stay on campus
Contact: Leidy Moreno
Phone: 57 (2) 4450000 Ext.: 3189

Hotels in Cali:


Hotels in Palmira:

Simone Staiger-Rivas

Simone Staiger-Rivas

Leader – Data, Information and Knowledge Group

Paul Chavarriaga

Paul Chavarriaga

Leader, Transformation Platform and Genome Editing

With support from:


October 17 @ 8:00 am
October 18 @ 5:00 pm


Km 17 Recta Cali-Palmira
Cali, Colombia
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