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Christopher Barbey

PhD Student, Plant Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology

Expert Bio

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.

Studies, Articles and Answers

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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?

Answered By Christopher Barbey - Nov 14, 2014

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 government and to the public. This process is rigorous, and it typically takes several years for a co [...]

Health & Safety How GMOs Are Made


Q: why are gmos so contraversial?

Answered By Christopher Barbey - Jan 14, 2015

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 the current GMO controversy as equivalent to other current scientific controversies (evolution, climate [...]

Environment Health & Safety Crop protectants


Q: Have any crops using selective breeding been bred for the specific traits of either herbicide resistance or insecticide generation?

Answered By Christopher Barbey - May 08, 2015

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 independent times in plants, always due to various mutations within ALS gene2.   To introduce tole [...]

GMOs & Farmers Health & Safety Crop protectants


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 affecting u

Answered By Christopher Barbey - May 19, 2016

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 genes. So GMOs are actually many different things, including bacteria that produce medicine and crops wh [...]

GMOs & Farmers Modern Agriculture Crop protectants