Chris Barbey is a PhD Student in plant molecular genetics and cell biology at the University of Florida. His research focuses on discovering and characterizing unknown genes in Strawberry, particularly those with a high potential to be involved in fruit quality. After completing his bachelor of science degree from Boise State University in 2010, Chris worked for three years at a plant biology laboratory in Idaho, where he worked on developing a healthier and higher-yielding potato using GE technology.
From this Expert
Q: I am working to get a degree in btech with an emphasis in plants. I have become interested in plant transformation and genomics. What might be some good careers ideas either in industry or academia?
Posted On: Friday, 4/14/2017 9:51 pm
Answered By: Christopher Barbey, PhD Student, Plant Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, Friday, 5/19/2017 12:54 pm
A: Skills in plant tissue culture and genomics are very useful! Consider yourself lucky (and/or smart) to have those interests. It seems clear you recognize these are very broad ideas. As you develop these skills, you may be surprised by what careers you become suited for. Until I found my first job in plant biotech, I never once considered myself as disposed to plant research. At this stage, think of your newfound skills as broadening your range of opportunity, not narrowing. ... Continue Reading
Q: Hello, I am Jonah Lu and I am a student in Mrs.Gambles enriched 5th grade class in the class we are doing genius hour which is where we research something we are interested in and we have to ask a expert my research question is how are Gmos...
Posted On: Wednesday, 4/27/2016 4:18 pm
Answered By: Christopher Barbey, PhD Student, Plant Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, Thursday, 5/19/2016 5:27 pm
A: Hello Jonah! Your question is a good one. Everyone should have an understanding of what genetically modified organisms are all about and how they are impacting us. Firstly, it’s important to know that genetic modification is just a technique for adding or subtracting a specific gene. This is different from traditional methods, which randomly affect tens of thousands of genes at a time. There’s a big list of organisms we can modify, and a growing list of useful... Continue Reading
Q: Have any crops using selective breeding been bred for the specific traits of either herbicide resistance or insecticide generation?
Posted On: Wednesday, 4/15/2015 8:42 am
Answered By: Christopher Barbey, PhD Student, Plant Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, Friday, 5/08/2015 1:50 pm
A: The answer to both is yes, and how this is typically accomplished is an interesting scientific and political intersection that reveals the failings of the “traditional” breeding vs. GM paradigm. A prominent example of breeding for herbicide tolerance is the “Clearfield” brand of plants, developed by the company BASF. These plants are insensitive to herbicidal inhibitors of the plant enzyme ALS1. Insensitivity to ALS inhibitors has naturally evolved several... Continue Reading
Posted On: Tuesday, 11/04/2014 6:12 pm
Answered By: Christopher Barbey, PhD Student, Plant Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, Wednesday, 1/14/2015 12:51 pm
A: The basis of the debate is a concern from some areas of the public that GMOs are harmful to the body or to the environment. However, the broad consensus among scientists is that this is not the case [1, 2, 3]. The specific complaints raised against GMOs are numerous and varied, and new ones are invented all the time. This Popular Science article does an excellent job of evaluating the merits of the more common anti-GMO claims out there; I highly encourage you to read it. I think of... Continue Reading
Q: Why do I get the feeling from all the past secrets being kept from the public that the people "answering" questions here do not themselves eat GMO food and quite possibly warn their family and friends to avoid consuming them as well?
Posted On: Wednesday, 7/31/2013 4:39 pm
Answered By: Christopher Barbey, PhD Student, Plant Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, Friday, 11/14/2014 1:51 pm
A: As a younger scientist studying plant genetics, I get your question a lot when talking to my friends. I’m often surprised that people seem unaware of the huge amount of government oversight there is on the GMO industry, and that companies are required to reveal all of their data for public review as part of the deregulation process. In other words, it is illegal to sell (or even transport) any genetically modified organism without demonstrating a huge amount of safety information to the... Continue Reading
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