Independent Expert

Kevin Folta

Professor and Chairman, Horticultural Sciences Department, University of Florida

Kevin Folta is a professor in and chairman of the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida, Gainesville. He got his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from University of Illinois at Chicago in 1998, and he has worked at University of Wisconsin before settling in at University of Florida. Dr. Folta researches the functional genomics of small fruit crops, the plant transformation, the genetic basis of flavors, and studies at photomorphogenesis and flowering. He has also written many publications and edited books, most recently was the 2011 Genetics, Genomics, and Breeding of Berries. Dr. Folta received the NSF CAREER Award, an HHMI Mentoring Award and was recognized as "University of Florida Foundation Research Professor" in 2010.

 

From this Expert

Posted On: Saturday, 7/12/2014 9:06 pm
A: Academic researchers are an odd lot. They (we) could make a few more bucks in industry, would not have to write grants (which are rejected 90 percent of the time if we’re really good) and would not have “publish or perish” hanging over our heads. We do it because having a public science presence, and working for the citizens of our states and country, is a truly important mission.We work for you. And guess what? We can’t play in transgenic plant (GMO) space. The amount of regulation, the... Continue Reading
Posted On: Friday, 5/09/2014 1:33 pm
A: I'm glad to answer your question as a scientist, but also as someone who is raising his niece. I'd never give her something dangerous, and in our house we absolutely do not worry about GM foods.  Your question implies a negative effect of the technology, much like that derived from anti-GM websites. The scientific answer is that there are absolutely no cases of any harm from this technology in 17 years of use. That's in small children and adults — no problems.  If you search the web... Continue Reading
Posted On: Thursday, 4/24/2014 11:28 pm
A: I'm a scientist and educator, so it is really important for me that our public understands science and technology. It is hard to see a good technology that has been used with an amazing safety and efficacy record get trashed.  So that's why I dip my toe into the discussion. We don't "think they are safe"; when we look at the data, there is no evidence to the contrary after 17 years on the market.  I can't speak for others, but I see this technology as a great way to solve problems... Continue Reading
Posted On: Saturday, 3/22/2014 10:34 pm
A: I'm glad to comment on these points. First, look at the dates. These are results, almost a decade old, that nobody else has repeated. Think about it. In science, everyone wants to be number two! If these results were real, they would have opened new worlds of inquiry with many labs and hundreds of papers.  When we talk about Roundup, we need to consider two things: toxicity and exposure. First, let's talk exposure. It is applied weeks before there is product on the plant, so even plants... Continue Reading
Posted On: Tuesday, 3/18/2014 12:44 pm
A: The short answer is no, there is absolutely zero reputable evidence that GMO foods cause cancer.  Cancer is a name applied to a spectrum of diseases where cells proliferate abnormally. There is no way that the subtle and well-understood alterations of a plant’s genes can cause cancer. There is nothing about the Bt protein (used in insect resistance, also in organic pest control), the EPSPS enzyme (which confers herbicide resistance simply by substituting for the native enzyme in the... Continue Reading

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