The 10th IAPTC&B Congress, Plant Biotechnology 2002 and Beyond, was held June 23-28, 2002, at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, in Orlando, Florida, USA. It was attended by 1,176 scientists from 54 countries. The best and brightest stars of international plant biotechnology headlined the scientific program. It included the opening address by the President of the IAPTC&B, 14 plenary lectures, and 111 keynote lectures and contributed papers presented in 17 symposia covering all aspects of plant biotechnology. More than 500 posters supplemented the formal program. The distinguished speakers described, discussed and debated not only the best of science that has been done or is being done, but also how the power of plant biotechnology can be harnessed to meet future challenges and needs. The program was focused on what is new and what is exciting, what is state of the art, and what is on the cutting edge of science and technology. In keeping with the international mandate of the IAPTC&B, 73 of the 125 speakers were from outside the United States, representing 27 countries from every region of the world. The 10th IAPTC&B Congress was a truly world-class event.
The IAPTC&B, founded in 1963 at the first international conference of plant tissue culture organized by Philip White in the United States, currently has over 1,500 members in 85 countries. It is the largest, oldest, and the most comprehensive international professional organization in the field of plant biotechnology. The IAPTC&B has served the plant biotechnology community well through its many active national chapters throughout the World, by maintaining and disseminating a membership list and a website, by the publication of an official journal (formerly the Newsletter), and by organizing quadrennial international congresses in France (1970), the United Kingdom (1974), Canada (1978), Japan (1982), the United States (1963, 1986, 2002), The Netherlands (1990), Italy (1994), and Israel (1998). In addition, the IAPTC&B has a long tradition of publishing the proceedings of its congresses. Individually, these volumes have provided authoritative quadrennial reports of the status of international plant biotechnology. Collectively, they document the history of plant biotechnology during the 20th century. They are indeed a valuable resource.
We are pleased to continue this tradition by publishing this proceedings volume of the 10th IAPTC&B Congress. Regrettably, we are not able to publish seven of the lectures in full (only their abstracts are included). The American and Canadian chapters of the IAPTC&B, the Plant Section of the Society for In Vitro Biology, and the University of Florida hosted the 10th IAPTC&B Congress. The Congress was a true partnership between academia and industry, and was generously supported by both groups (see list of donors/sponsors on back cover). A number of prominent international biotechnology companies and publishers participated in the very successful Science and Technology Exhibit (see accompanying list of exhibitors) The IAPTC&B awarded 84 fellowships to young scientists from 31 countries (see accompanying list of fellowship recipients) to support their participation in the Congress.