QAre the universities your "Experts" work for funded by Monsanto?

Are the universities your "Experts" work for funded by Monsanto?

AExpert Answer

I am not sure I understand your question exactly, but I presume you are asking if the people who respond to these questions as a courtesy to the public on behalf of the university where they are employed receive funding from Monsanto. The answer is likely yes.  Monsanto and other companies involved in agriculture and other scientific disciplines provide funding for research at many, if not most, public land grant universities and also many private institutions. Given the dearth of federal funding, this support is very important and enables researchers to move forward with independent research that will ultimately support the general public.


I also recognize that there are concerns about whether we in the land grant universities are influenced by these companies or whether their financial support is ethical. That is unfortunate. I have spent 40 years in the land grant system, and I don’t see an issue with conflict of interest. I am guided first by my personal ethics to conduct and report unbiased research, as well as by a comprehensive set of policies and processes developed by the university.


We would welcome funding to conduct research from other sources, but, unfortunately, those don’t exist.  It is important to point out that when we accept funding from a company, most of the time those funds do not have strings attached.  We accept funds to conduct research in our focused area of study, and we are given free rein to publish the results, regardless of whether they are in the company's favor or not.

AExpert Answer

It might surprise you to know that the majority of funding for research at universities is from the federal government.  However, Monsanto does fund research with universities all across the United States.  Not surprisingly, projects are funded at the universities with the talent that enables progress in the areas that support our projects.  For instance, if we want to study weed management, we go to universities or scientists that are highly experienced in weed management.  You would do the same. 


It stands to reason that many of the experts on this website work or have worked at universities that have been engaged in research for biotechnology applications for agriculture—that's how they became experts.  And Monsanto has provided funding to some of these universities—but not at all in a way that is connected to these experts' work to help answer questions on this site.  The experts are volunteering their time. 


Monsanto has also funded universities that have been affiliated with authors who were critical of GM.  In the last year, a paper with no original data was written, in which the authors speculated on Roundup's role in diseases.  A question about this paper was answered on this website. One of the authors was affiliated with MIT, and Monsanto has given funds to MIT.


Other experts on this website, such as farmers, are not affiliated with any university at all. 

Posted on November 28, 2017
There are currently no breeding techniques used to create genetic variations of hair textures. If a person wishes to change their hair texture in any way, they are currently limited to the available hair care products sold for those purposes.   However, new gene editing techniques are continued to be developed for different beneficial purposes and what you are referring to is the possibility of editing genes in humans. Some of the areas to apply gene editing, particularly in humans, are... Read More
Posted on September 5, 2017
While there might be some institutions with the capability to make these transgenic watermelon and coconut plants for you, that does not mean that you would be able to actually plant them out. First, the institution would need to have a Biological Use Authorization to work with recombinant DNA to make the vectors to transfer the genes. Then they would need to be able to do the tissue culture required to transfer the genes and regenerate whole plants again, which can sometimes be difficult.... Read More
Posted on August 5, 2017
I’m a genetic engineer. I’ve spent 30 years participating as a member of teams of genetic engineers, and I love your question. Most of us do indeed spend a lot of time inside the lab, but we’re not always sitting. Sometimes we dance!   Genetic engineering starts with an idea for a way to solve a problem, so I guess it starts with an understanding of the problems. In agriculture, for example, that means spending time to understand what’s happening on farms and... Read More