Andrew has been working on projects that overlap the fields of ecology and molecular biology for more than 14 years. During the past 9 years, he has worked with the American Chestnut Research & Restoration Project, at the College of Environmental Science & Forestry in New York. This project has developed transgenic American chestnut trees that are resistant to chestnut blight, a disease that nearly extirpated mature trees from their native range in the eastern USA. Andrew has worked on a variety of aspects of this project, from genetic transformation and molecular analyses to blight screening and ecological field tests. Most recently, he has been preparing for the US federal regulatory review process, a set of rigorous evaluations required before the trees can be distributed or used for restoration.
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A: This is an important question! Of course scientists wouldn't want to release any plants or products that would be harmful to humans. The first part of the answer is that I'm not aware of ANY examples of released GMOs hurting human bodies. In fact, GMO (or genetically engineered, GE) crops have actually helped both plants and human health, by making harvests more efficient and reducing the need to spray harmful pesticides. Safety to humans is an important part of the government's regulatory review process, so any GE product that was harmful to humans wouldn't be appro [...]Health & Safety
A: Interesting question - that's a good example of how the term "GMO" (genetically modified organism) is too vague to be really useful. In a sense, yes, your genes are modified compared to both of your parents. And you're definitely not genetically identical to your parents (unless you're a yeast, or a starfish, or a willow tree, or some other organism that can reproduce asexually). But in common usage, the term GMO refers to an organism containing a gene from an unrelated organism that was intentionally introduced in a lab. Note that this process of inter-spec [...]Editorial GMO Basics Labeling