Posted on March 2, 2017
Response from Alan McHughen, CE Biotechnology Specialist and Geneticist • March 23, 2017
In general, no. The biotech companies have been very good at responding to specific or technical questions, especially from their direct customers (farmers), but have missed opportunities to engage the public and other critics skeptical of biotechnology. To be fair, some critics cannot be engaged in rational debate, as they are pursuing an agenda and have no interest in having their ‘questions’ addressed.
However, other critics are sincere and do wish to learn (even if... Read More
Posted on October 30, 2015
Response from Alan McHughen, CE Biotechnology Specialist and Geneticist • March 18, 2016
The best source detailing the components used in making GE crops is probably this list at USDA- APHIS.
This site lists all of the GE crops (regulated articles) for which a petition has been submitted, and the status of each petition.
To find component details, select the specific GE crop you’re interested in and click on the arrow link to open up links to detailed documents, including Federal Register notices, the petition itself and usually some other... Read More
Posted on May 11, 2015
Response from Alan McHughen, CE Biotechnology Specialist and Geneticist • July 1, 2015
I see lots of potential downsides with using the GE corn to produce insulin, from the more complicated transformation procedure, to more difficult extraction/purification, to the possibility (however remote) of food/feed corn admixtures. I was able to come up with no compelling reason to engineer a corn plant to produce insulin, as long as the bacterial system is operating effectively (which, as I understand, it is).
Posted on November 26, 2014
Response from Alan McHughen, CE Biotechnology Specialist and Geneticist • December 16, 2014
Modern GMOs are developed by teams of experts in different fields, as few individuals have the broad range of skills needed to develop commercialized GMOs alone. Also, different kinds of GMOs are developed for different purposes by teams with differing expertise. For example, a GMO to produce a pharmaceutical product like insulin would not require the same expertise as a GM corn crop with enhanced drought tolerance.
However, the experts typically have college level training in... Read More
Posted on July 21, 2014
Response from Alan McHughen, CE Biotechnology Specialist and Geneticist • June 26, 2014
Genes — portions of the chemical abbreviated as DNA — have been moved around from one species to another by humans since the 1970s, and by Mother Nature for eons. In every case, the anticipated outcome has been realized. For example, humans have been moving the gene for insulin from humans to bacteria for almost half a century (and now provide insulin for almost all insulin-dependent diabetics). In every case, the recipient bacteria “read” the human insulin gene recipe and make human insulin.... Read More