Independent Expert

Martina Newell-McGloughlin

Director, International Biotechnology Program, University of California, Davis

Martina Newell-McGloughlin, Director of International Biotechnology at UC Davis, has worked in biotechnology for over 25 years and has been with the UC system since 1989. Some of her many accomplishments include directing Life and Health Sciences Research Initiatives for UC Davis and directing the UC Systemwide Biotechnology Research and Education Program for eleven years. Martina has broad experience in developing novel biotechnology research, training and education programs and experience in managing large multi-disciplinary grant programs.

From this Expert

Posted On: Friday, 9/27/2013 4:43 pm
A: As mentioned previously, all breeding techniques introduce modifications at the DNA level, other than the desired change. However, I hasten to add that, despite the extensive genetic manipulation of crop plants by the many and diverse methods described previously, cases of novel or completely unexpected adverse consequences for commercialized varieties of these crops are extremely rare. Variations due to breeding and the application of modern biotechnology have been studied frequently by... Continue Reading
Posted On: Thursday, 8/08/2013 5:08 am
A: Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) or lateral gene transfer (LGT) refers to transfer of genes between organisms other than through sexual or asexual reproduction (referred to as vertical gene transfer VGT). It is quite prevalent in prokaryotes and unicellular organisms but not as common in multicellular eukaryotes. As with mutation, HGT is mostly neutral and seldom negative but occasionally provides an advantage—for example, antibiotics resistance in bacteria. And in this regard, in the simpler... Continue Reading
Posted On: Tuesday, 7/30/2013 6:28 pm
A: Humans have been selectively modifying plants and animals for many millennia. For much of this time, they had little or no knowledge of what they were doing at the gene or molecular level.  Over the last century, and before the introduction of modern recombinant DNA technology, several breeding methods were developed that resulted in gross changes at the molecular level, but, again, these were not characterized or often well understood. In the case of plants, these tools include modifying... Continue Reading
Posted On: Monday, 7/29/2013 11:10 am
A: Wow, there are a lot of great questions here. I’ll answer them individually:First, how is biodiversity impacted by the introduction of GM crops? Biodiversity is actually enhanced by the adoption of GM crops. Those crops commercialized to date have reduced the impacts of agriculture on biodiversity through enhanced adoption of conservation tillage practices, through reduction of pesticide use and use of more environmentally benign herbicides and through increasing yields to alleviate pressure... Continue Reading
Posted On: Thursday, 7/25/2013 8:29 pm
A: Genetic engineering is already playing a role in protecting plants from disease, and the potential in this area is tremendous. The use of genetic engineering has the potential to help protect plants where other solutions are either impractical or ineffective. Also, the use of insecticides to control insects that are vectors for the transmission of diseases can be dramatically reduced, saving farmers time and money and protecting the environment from chemical sprays. A few examples:The... Continue Reading
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