Independent Expert

Dr. L. Curtis Hannah

Professor, University of Florida

Dr. L. Curtis Hannah is a Professor of Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology teaching Advanced Genetics at the University of Florida. His areas of research include plant molecular biology, plant genetics, starch biosynthesis and transposable elements. Dr. Hannah’s work focuses on engineering heat labile enzymes that play important roles in maize yield. Some variants give rise to as much as a 68% increase in maize yield in hot environments. He earned his Ph.D. in genetics at the University of Wisconsin after completing bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biochemistry and genetics at Purdue University. He remains active in the family farming operations in Indiana.

From this Expert

Posted On: Thursday, 5/22/2014 10:41 am
A: Thank you for two excellent questions.  First, “Do all cells in a Bt-containing transgenic plant contain the Bt transgene?  The general answer is yes.  Barring rare mutation or rare chromosomal abnormalities, all somatic cells in a plant contain the same DNA.  The large part of a cereal seed (corn, wheat, oats, rye, rice, etc) is called an endosperm and it has three doses of each gene whereas other cells and tissues contain only two copies.  However it is the same... Continue Reading
Posted On: Saturday, 11/16/2013 10:20 am
A: I love your questions because it allows me to address some of the confusion out there concerning GMOs. The ability to precisely insert a gene at a particular site in the genome is an area of active research. The day likely will come when all new gene inserts are done at precise locations.  However to the best of my knowledge all commercially used gene inserts in today’s market arose from methodologies that did not use precise insertion techniques.  However, following insertion... Continue Reading
Posted On: Thursday, 9/19/2013 10:54 am
A: Thank you for your important question. The definition of a “GMO” or a transgenic organism refers to an organism containing a gene inserted by man. This is quite evident when one reviews the criteria for release of these organisms as defined by the Joint Food Standards Program of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization, as well as Codex Alimentarius Commission (reviewed in Steiner, H-Y, Halpin C., Jez J., Kough J., Parrott W and , Hannah, LC... Continue Reading
Posted On: Friday, 8/16/2013 1:58 pm
A: Thank you for your question. In order for Monsanto to be in a position to make such assurances, it would have to have total control of plant agriculture, from planting to consumption. This is not the way modern agriculture and the food chain function. And I have not heard of any suggestion that Monsanto (or any other seed company that sells GMO crops) should control these activities. It should be mentioned that seed producers have the right to protect their invention from subsequent... Continue Reading
Posted On: Tuesday, 7/30/2013 11:43 am
A: First, thank you very much for your series of questions.  In terms of regulatory issues for releasing transgenic cultivars that are hybrid (such as corn or maize), versus, I assume, ones that are not (such as soybeans), there are no formal differences in the regulatory process. Questions concerning the nature of the gene, its function, its insertion site in the host genome, effect on plant growth and composition, allergenic properties of the added protein, etc., must be satisfied before... Continue Reading
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