The scientific work contained in this special issue of the Electronic Journal of Biotechnology includes the complete versions of a significant number of papers presented during the VI National Symposium on Biotechnology – REDBIO Argentina 2005, held in Buenos Aires from 7 to 11 June 2005.

The VI Symposium of REDBIO Argentina 2005 has been worthy of special mention in the history of Argentinean biotechnology, for hosting 20 international high-level conferences, an Educational Forum on Biotechnology, twelve workshops, amongst which one was directed to the creation of a multi institutional international consortium on abiotic stress, three Round Tables and the presentation of one hundred and ninety two top level technical-scientific papers including multiple areas and aspects related to agricultural biotechnology such as: plant tissue culture, plant biochemistry, genomics and molecular markers, plant breeding, biotic and abiotic stress, bio-safety, diffusion and biotechnology communication, education and public perception, biotechnology and environment, animal biotechnology, transgenic food and legal, political and economic aspects of biotechnology.

In view of the impact of this event, which is the most outstanding seen in local biotechnology meetings, the Co-ordination of the local branch of REDBIO and the Technical Secretariat of the REDBIO/FAO Network, proposed that a special number be edited and published in the most prestigious regional electronic magazine, thus launching a new pioneer activity within the scope of REDBIO.

In consequence with this objective and based on the fact that the papers published in the VI National Symposium on Biotechnology REDBIO Argentina 2005, were previously evaluated by a prestigious jury, an invitation was extended to interested authors to send a complete version of their papers to be included in the elaboration of this Special Number. The authors were requested to prepare the complete versions in English, strictly following the format required by the Electronic Journal of Biotechnology (EJBiotech.). In order to re- evaluate the new versions of the papers presented, a new and active Evaluation Committee was appointed, integrated by:

Acevedo, Alberto (EEA INTA-Concepción del Uruguay, Argentina),

Arranz, Silvia (Univ. Nacional de Rosario, Argentina),

Borja, Marisé (Univ. Complutense de Madrid, Spain),

Curutchet, Gustavo (Univ. Nacional de San Martín, Argentina),

Echenique, Viviana (Univ. Nacional del Sur, Argentina),

Heinz, Ruth (INTA-Castelar, Argentina),

Jordán, Miguel (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile),

Marinangelli, Pablo (Univ. Nacional del Sur, Argentina),

Ortiz, Rodomiro (CYMMYT, Mexico),

Oyanedel, Eduardo (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Chile),

Pitta Álvarez, Sandra (Cassará Foundation),

Salerno, Graciela (FIBA, Argentina),

Terryn, Nancy (Gent University, Belgium), and

Vojnov, Adrián (CONICET, Argentina)

It is important to point out that the authors of the Special Edition represent a total of 27 important institutions dedicated to agricultural biotechnological research in Europe and America. The subject matters of the papers selected for the Special Edition include the incorporation of a singularly important field such as Ecology. This is the result of an assertive and timely decision to widen the scope of Biotechnologies involved in REDBIO, thus giving the members of the Network the opportunity to express their opinions and hold productive discussions. The rest of the areas involved are: Plant tissue culture, Genetic improvement, Biochemistry, Bio-safety, Stress, Dissemination, Transgenic food, Genomics and Molecular Markers.

The edition of this special number of Electronic Journal of Biotechnology, which counted with the collaboration and special dedication of Dr. Graciela Muñoz, Editor in Chief, will enable both expert and non-expert public to get acquainted with the important progress made by regional biotechnology and will facilitate the dissemination of said information, and, in this way, carry out the fundamental objectives of REDBIO.

It is an honour for us to have the privilege of presenting these brilliant articles which truly represent biotechnology in the Region.

Editor Committee

Sandra Sharry
National Co-ordinator REDBIO Argentina
Universidad de La Plata

Alejandro Escandón
Co-ordinator REDBIO Argentina

Juan Izquierdo
FAO Regional Senior Plant Production Officer
Technical Secretary REDBIO/FAO
Supported by UNESCO / MIRCEN network