September 23, 2005 | By: Aimee Nielson

A delegation of Chinese agricultural professionals recently visited the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture to learn more about the regulation of modified, or genetically engineered, plants. Scientists and technicians at UK’s Kentucky Tobacco Research and Development Center have a lot of experience in the production and containment of plants modified for pharmaceutical production.

“It’s a sign that our programs in plant-made pharmaceuticals at the KTRDC have gained worldwide acclaim,” said Nancy Cox, associate dean for research and director of the UK Agricultural Experiment Station. “It shows that the regulatory policies associated with these plants are of use to other countries as well as the United States. So we are very pleased by this recognition.”

The Chinese delegates, hosted by representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, toured farms in Kentucky before coming to Lexington to view tobacco plots at one of the UK farms. Orlando Chambers, KTRDC biotechnology relations director, explained how UK works with the USDA to make sure planting, growing and equipment-cleaning procedures align with all the mandated regulations.

“This group from China is involved in biotechnology regulation,” Chambers said. “They’ve visited the USDA and they’ve come to Kentucky to learn how we manage the regulation of bioengineered plants.”

Speaking through a translator, Qiwen Wei, head of the delegation, said the group was in Kentucky for a technical exchange of information. Wei is a deputy director general at the People’s Republic of China Development Center for Science and Technology and he works closely with China’s Ministry of Agriculture.

“We believe Kentucky is good and has a very strong university particularly for research about tobacco,” he said. “We are very impressed with the research facilities and the research program.”



Writer: Aimee Nielson 859-257-4736, ext. 267

Contact: Nancy Cox 859-257-3333
Orlando Chambers 859-257-7044