Independent Expert

Steve Savage

Consultant, Savage & Associates

Steve Savage has more than 30 years of experience in agricultural technology having worked in academics (Colorado State University), at a global research company (DuPont), at a biotechnology start-up (Mycogen), and for the last 16 years as a consultant. Over the years, his research and consulting topics have ranged from biological control to crop protection chemicals (synthetic and natural product based); traits based on advances from traditional genetics to biotechnology; and crops from grains to specialty fruits and vegetables. He has also worked extensively on bio-fuels, fertilizers and on footprints of farming (carbon, water, energy and land-use).

From this Expert

Posted On: Thursday, 9/05/2013 4:41 am
A: The wine industry in the Europe has issues of over-production and challenges from competition in export markets.  Certain "reforms" of the industry are being orchestrated by the EU in an attempt to address this situation (http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/capreform/wine/potential/index_en.htm). I can't really comment on the wisdom or fairness of that process, but anything that negatively impacts a grower is of concern to me.  There are some ideas for transgenic traits which could help... Continue Reading
Posted On: Friday, 8/09/2013 2:41 am
A: Interesting questions.  No, it is not "GM."  The submergence tolerant rice developed by IRRI (The International Rice Research Institute) is based on a trait first identified in "land race" rice cultivars first collected in the 1950s.  The role of biotechnology is that modern gene sequencing technology (marker assisted breeding) was used to identify the "locus" or part of the rice genome so that it could be more efficiently bred into modern cultivars.  The trait involves two... Continue Reading
Posted On: Friday, 8/09/2013 12:13 am
A: Cannabis has definitely been genetically modified for the underground and “medical” markets, but not using the modern methods that get called “GMO”. The modification of the genetics of marijuana achieved using a combination of traditional breeding techniques and clumsy, “old-school” techniques like chemical mutagenesis and induced polyploidy. In other words, various enterprising people used toxic chemicals to cause mutations or used Colchicine to induce the plants to double the number of... Continue Reading
Posted On: Monday, 8/05/2013 5:53 pm
A: Good questions, I’ll address each of them individually. 1a. Can you explain what license terms might be typical for allowing other seed companies to utilize a patented biotech trait? Typically the license agreement includes a royalty (e.g. a certain fee assessed per bag of seed sold) and an agreement by the other seed company to have their customers follow the same rules as those of the patent-holding company.  Those might include restrictions on the saving of seeds and/or... Continue Reading
Posted On: Thursday, 8/01/2013 8:52 am
A: No, this is not an example of a biotech crop crossing with a weed. The “pig weed” in question here is actually what is known as Palmer Amaranth―a serious weed problem in its own right, regardless of herbicide tolerance. As with many other weeds that have become resistant to herbicides, including those long before biotechnology, it is not an issue of the tolerance moving to the weed by outcrossing, but rather that the use of the herbicide selects for resistant types that occur within the... Continue Reading

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Steve Savage Addresses Samsel and Seneff study, “Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance”

By Steve Savage (Independent Expert) on Friday, March 14, 2014 - 15:14

In this article, agricultural technology expert Steve Savage analyzes a recent literature survey published by Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff in which an argument is made for a possible link between celiac disease and the use of the herbicide glyphosate.
  • Impact on Environment
  • Safety, Health, and Nutrition
  • Science and GMO Basics
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Gorillas And The Future of Crop Biotechnology

By Steve Savage (Independent Expert) on Wednesday, January 8, 2014 - 20:53

There are some really cool improvements coming along in several crops that have been developed using the tools of biotechnology. Whether these new options actually make it to consumers depends a great deal on decisions made by players who have an out-sized influence on not only their market segment, but on their supply chain. The question is what role these “800-pound gorillas” will play for the next generation of potential crop improvements.
  • Impact on Society
  • Impact on Environment
  • Future of GMO
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