Posted on April 27, 2016
Response from Christopher Barbey, PhD Student, Plant Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology • May 19, 2016
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... Read More
Posted on April 15, 2015
Response from Christopher Barbey, PhD Student, Plant Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology • May 8, 2015
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... Read More
Posted on November 4, 2014
Response from Christopher Barbey, PhD Student, Plant Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology • January 14, 2015
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... Read More
Posted on July 31, 2013
Response from Christopher Barbey, PhD Student, Plant Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology • November 14, 2014
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... Read More