The Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum welcomed member Neville Jones as its guest speaker.
Neville, an agricultural advisor with a scientific background, chose the subject of genetic modification, biofuels and stem cell research for his talk.
Expressing a personal view that these were topics which were often subject to a great amount of misinformation, Neville
explained how through genetic modification, crop strains had been developed which were able to grow in adverse environmental conditions.
For example, crops had been developed which required less water and which were therefore drought resistant.
Others had been developed which were resistant to insects and disease, which therefore reduced the need to deploy pesticides.
Stem cells, the club was told, were those cells which had the potential to develop into many different cell types in the body during early life and growth, and which could serve to replenish other cells in the body.
This held out the prospect of being able to use therapeutic treatments to tackle a range of debilitating human ailments.
In the Q&A session which followed, it was noted that regardless as to the potential benefits, there remained controversy over the use of cells from human embryos in this way.
The impact of ethical arguments on the development of this branch of science was also discussed, before the meeting concluded with the club thanking Neville
for a promoting a stimulating discussion.