Head of Trait Research, Bayer
Catherine Feuillet is the Head of trait research at Bayer since July 2013. Until then, she was a research director and leader of the group, “Structure, function and evolution of the wheat genomes” at the INRA, Clermont-Ferrand (France). She received her PhD in 1993 at the University Paul Sabatier (Toulouse, France) working on genes involved in lignification in Eucalyptus. In 1994, she moved to Zurich, Switzerland to the laboratory of Dr. B. Keller at the Swiss Federal Institute for Agroecology as a postdoc and then as a junior group leader at the University of Zurich in 1997. During this period, she developed research projects aiming at the cloning of leaf rust disease resistance and initiated projects in structural and evolutionary genomics in wheat and barley. In 2004, she was appointed by INRA (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique) as research director in Clermont-Ferrand (UMR Genetics, Diversity and Ecophysiology of Cereals) to lead and develop wheat genomics projects. She has coordinated several large national and European grants and is one of the co-chairs of the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium. In 2009, she received the "Prix Foulon" (for integrative plant biology) from the French Academy of Sciences. She was nominated for the Legion of Honor in 2010, elected « AAAS Fellow » by the American Association for the advancement of Science in 2011 and received the “Prix J. Dufrenoy” from the French Academy of Agriculture in 2012.
Studies, Articles and Answers
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A: I am continually asked questions concerning the safety of genetically modified foods and the (perceived) lack of studies indicating their safe use in our daily lives. To hear such questions reminds me of our continued duty and commitment as scientists to better inform everyone as to what we do and why we do it. I view GM technology as an extension of plant improvement practices that have been ongoing since the dawn of agriculture, about 10,000 years ago. Such crops as corn (Zea mays) are an excellent example. Corn, as you know it today, would not exist without the inventive nature of the [...]GMOs & Farmers Health & Safety Crop protectants
A: We sanitize our labs before and after working with all organisms, regardless of whether they are genetically engineered or not. We work with microbial strains that are sometimes genetically modified but other times are not. We also work with plant cells and tissues under sterile conditions that may or may not be genetically engineered. It is critical to sanitize our work areas to maintain the purity of our cultures. The fact that we sometimes use genetically engineered organisms does not influence the need to sanitize our work areas in a more specific way. Sanitization of all work spaces is a [...]How GMOs Are Made
A: First of all, it is worth noting that the first genetically modified (GM) product approved by the FDA was insulin, produced by modified bacteria. GMOs were also developed to improve crop characteristics either by accelerating the introduction of a better version of existing genes into a crop or by enabling the introduction of completely new genes to provide new properties. There are four main objectives: First, genetically modified (GM) plants are used as a quick way to prove that a gene that is supposed to provide a new characteristic to a plant is actually doing the job. [...]Environment GMOs & Farmers Crop protectants
A: This post was originally published on Forbes on March 22, 2016. Post written by Catherine Feuillet. Catherine Feuillet is the head of trait research at Bayer. Genome editing in crops is gaining momentum and is providing new ways to improve our food, feed and fiber. (Image Credit: Bayer) Our Microbial World Did you know that you have as many, if not more, bacteria living in your body than the number of cells you are made of? Did you know that a teaspoon of soil can contain between 100 million and 1 billion bacteria? There are far more bacteria on earth than there a [...]