GMAC Subcommittee for Public Awareness

Genetic modification (GM) is a technology with numerous applications, such as in the production of GM foods, in diagnostics, or in disease treatment. Therefore, GM is a subject relevant to the average Singaporean. Yet, the topic can be extremely difficult to understand for people with little scientific background. Indeed, past surveys commissioned by GMAC revealed that in general, Singaporeans have limited knowledge on GM-related issues.

The GMAC Subcommittee on Public Awareness is therefore tasked with the responsibility to disseminate information that is objective, factual and scientific, so that members of the public can make educational, rational decisions on GM technology and its products. The terms of reference of the Subcommittee are as follows:

  • To identify issues, whether controversial or otherwise, which the public needs to be aware of, in order to alleviate their concerns regarding genetically modified organisms and their derived food;
  • To plan strategies by which information can be effectively disseminated to the public so that the public can understand the underlying issues;
  • To implement public awareness programmes through various agencies, in consultation with GMAC.
The composition of the Subcommittee is as follows:

Name Role in GMAC Designation Organisation
Dr Astrid Yeo Subcommittee Chair Senior Director
Food Regulatory Management Divison
Singapore Food Agency (SFA)
Mrs Anne Dhanaraj Member Senior Director
Education Programmes Division
Science Centre Singapore
Ms Tay Wee Beng Member Senior Curriculum Specialist
Sciences Branch
Curriculum Planning & Development Division
Ministry of Education (MOE)
Ms Chang Ai-Lien Member Science Editor
The Straits Times
Singapore Press Holdings (SPH)
Ms Elaine Pong Member Director
Communications & Service Quality Division
Corporate Communications Department
Singapore Food Agency (SFA)

The Subcommittee has made active efforts to fulfill its tasks. We have granted interviews to the media and to students who wish to learn more. We have also organized talks, seminars and public forums, sometimes in collaborations with other local and overseas organizations.

In order to help members of the public understand a complex technology in simpler terms, GMAC has published and distributed an educational brochure. The brochures can be assessed through here.

We have also dedicated this website for the enhancement of public awareness. Members of the public with enquiries or suggestions are welcome to contact us.

For more information on the work of the Subcommittee, please see:

GMAC, May 2009
Launch of the GMAC Student Reporters' Challenge 2009

The Straits Times, 25 Feb 2008
Genetics Website Launched

GMAC, 22 Feb 2009
GMAC Launches Revamped Website and the GMAC Student Reporters' Challenge

The Straits Times, 25 Jan 2007
Few Know of GM Foods: Survey

GMAC, 25 Jan 2007
Survey Indicates Singaporean’s Knowledge and Attitudes Towards Genetic Modification have Improved Slightly since 2001

GMAC, 15 Jan 2007
Public Forum On Commercialization of Biotech Crops 1996-2006: Future Prospects, Lecture Theatre 3A/B, Matrix, Biopolis