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Dr. Nicholas Storer

Global Leader for Scientific Affairs, Biotechnology Regulatory and Government Affairs Group, Dow AgroSciences

Expert Bio

Dr. Nicholas Storer is the Global Leader for Scientific Affairs in the Biotechnology Regulatory and Government Affairs group at Dow AgroSciences, based in the USA. Dr. Storer is responsible for developing and overseeing the company’s biotechnology science policy program, including environmental risk assessment and insect resistance management for transgenic crops. He is called upon as a leading expert by academics and governments around the world to provide perspectives on approaches for assessing the environmental risks and benefits of GM crops in a regulatory context.

He is the current chairman of CropLife International’s Environmental Risk Assessment Project Team and of the Insecticide Resistance Action Committee’s Plant Biotechnology Team. He is also the past chairman of the Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee (ABSTC), an industry organization that promotes research and stewardship of Bt crops in the US.

Dr. Storer is the author or co-author of more than 20 journal articles, book chapters, and reviews relating to safety assessment, environmental risk assessment, and insect resistance management for transgenic crops. He received his B.A. in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge, England, his M.Sc. in Zoology from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and his Ph.D. in Entomology from North Carolina State University, USA..

Studies, Articles and Answers

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Q: Is it true that due to the prevalence of Roundup Ready crops, weeds are becoming resistant to Roundup, and thus, more Roundup must be applied to these crops to kill the weeds? Is there currently an initiative to get the government to approve 2, 4D-Ready c

By GMOAnswers Admin_1 - Nov 20, 2013

A: The prevalence of Roundup Ready crops has not caused weeds to become resistant to glyphosate; rather, resistance is a function of how glyphosate has been used in RR crops and in other areas.  In general, resistance to an herbicide is related to how it is used and the potential for resistance to evolve.  Because of the recognized safety and environmental benefits of glyphosate, many farmers relied on it as the sole herbicide to control weeds, and we now know that this practice was not sustainable. Importantly, in cooperation with leading academics, we are making progress in educ [...]

Answered By Dr. Nicholas Storer - Nov 20, 2013

A: Canadian regulators have recently authorized the planting of soybeans and feed corn tolerant to the herbicide 2,4-D. Similar approvals are being sought in the United States. Approvals for the import of 2,4-D-tolerant corn grain have also been granted recently by many other nations. While cultivation of 2,4-D-tolerant crops is expected in coming growing seasons, thus far no commercial planting of these crops has occurred.The reason crops are being stacked with 2,4-D tolerance is to undercut the weed resistance now developing in North America (and elsewhere) as a result of over-reliance on glyp [...]

Environment Crop protectants


Q: In addition to GMO corn, are there other animal fodder plants, such as grasses, which have been genetically modified to create better yields and desirable traits such as drought-resistance? In particular, I am curious as to whether panicum maximum, otherw

Answered By Dr. Nicholas Storer - Aug 28, 2013

A: GM versions of several forage crops have been created for research or commercial purposes. Commercial crops include corn, which you mention, and alfalfa. Research is being pursued with various grass species, such as switchgrass (although this is more with a view to its use as a biofuel, rather than animal feed), sorghum, wheat and millet. Turf grasses have also been genetically modified to provide herbicide tolerance. Molecular approaches to improvement of guinea grass, an important tropical and subtropical forage for cattle, have included genetic sequencing and marker-assisted breeding. To ou [...]

GMO Basics How GMOs Are Made


Q: Is it true you have a GMO that produces an insecticide that causes insects stomachs to explode, resulting in their death? How in the world can you say that that same plant is then safe to feed a small child? Where is the process does that gene disappear t

Answered By Dr. Nicholas Storer - Feb 03, 2014

A: Genes from a bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), have been transferred to crop plants to replace the use of sprayable insecticides directed at some crop pests. These genes produce proteins that control the immature stages of a subset of insects (some caterpillars and beetle grubs) by creating pores in the insect gut and thus disrupting its integrity. Bt has always been consumed by people. It is a very common bacterium found naturally in soil and on plant leaves, and the Bt organism and its insecticidal proteins have been used extensively in organic farming for more tha [...]

GMO Basics Health & Safety


Q: I inquired about genetic engineering of fodder crops and received this answer: "Molecular approaches to improvement of guinea grass, an important tropical and subtropical forage for cattle, have included genetic sequencing and marker-assisted breeding. To

Answered By Dr. Nicholas Storer - Sep 03, 2013

A: The genes that make up the blue print for an organism are carried on its DNA, which consists of a string with information coded much like letters and words. Genes or sets of genes determine many of the physical and biochemical characteristics of the organism – for example a gene for growth rate, or a set of genes that make a plant drought tolerant. Genetic sequencing is the determination of the precise DNA sequences that make up the genes of an organism (the Human Genome Project is the most famous example of this).  Using this information, researchers can identify certain DNA elements th [...]

GMO Basics How GMOs Are Made


Q: Could you please explain the concept of “rogue proteins”?

Answered By Dr. Nicholas Storer - Oct 08, 2013

A: If by “rogue proteins” you are referring to proteins that could be incidentally produced as a result of new cryptic reading frames, my co-authors and I discuss this in a publication (Herman et al., 2011).  In brief, proteins could theoretically be produced by “hidden” or “cryptic” DNA sequences.  In the case of GM crops, such sequences would be generated at random.  The chances of assembling a gene that actually expresses a protein by random is very low, the chances of this protein being functional is miniscule, and the chances of it being a safety concern are astronomically sm [...]

GMO Basics How GMOs Are Made


Q: Has there been research on the influence of gmo crops resistent for insects on the soil and organisms in the soil?

Answered By Dr. Nicholas Storer - Dec 19, 2013

A: Research has shown that the insecticidal proteins produced by insect-protected GM crops can be released into the soil.  The proteins are released from the roots as they develop and from plant tissues and pollen in the soil as they decay.  Therefore, assessment of the potential effects of these proteins on soil organisms is an important component of the regulatory review of insect-protected GM crops.  Direct testing is conducted against earthworms and springtails, both of which are important in processing organic matter and maintaining a healthy soil.  No effects of the ins [...]

Environment Crop protectants


Q: Considering that in nature there is a panoply of Bt protein variants with differential activities, I was wondering whether this evolutionary potential has been tapped to overcome emerging insect Bt resistance in transgenic agricultural systems? I.e. do al

Answered By Dr. Nicholas Storer - Nov 13, 2013

A: Today, there are several GM crops that produce different proteins derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (i.e. Bt proteins).  Some of the Bt proteins that we use provide protection from lepidopteran pests that feed on foliage, flowers, and grain (e.g. European corn borer, cotton bollworm).  Different Bt proteins provide protection from coleopteran pests that feed on roots (corn rootworm).  Within these two groups, industry uses a range of specific proteins to delay or overcome pest adaptation, as you suggest.   For example, the Cry1Fa and Cry2Ab Bt proteins both provide [...]

GMO Basics How GMOs Are Made


Q: what are the genes in genetically modified corn

Answered By Dirk Benson - May 06, 2015

A: GM corn traits are developed for a variety of reasons, but always to achieve a certain goal. For example, some GM corn traits may be for insect resistance for specific target pests, herbicide resistance for specific herbicides, or even characteristics for specific types of production, like ethanol. The Syngenta genes in GM corn are:            Cry1Ab (Insect resistance - lepidopteran)/PAT (phosphinothricin-N-acetyltransferase) (herbicide tolerance - glufosinate)          dmEPSPS (5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3 [...]

Answered By Dr. Nicholas Storer - Mar 27, 2015

A: Corn contains about 50,000 genes, and through conventional breeding, corn breeders have created combinations of these genes to produce a crop that is highly useful within agricultural systems.  The tools of genetic engineering have enabled the addition of specific genes for new specific traits that cannot easily be developed through conventional breeding, such as season-long protection from feeding by insect pests and high levels of tolerance to specific herbicides.  For example, insecticidal proteins, such as Cry1F and Cry34/35Ab1, have been added using genes from the common soil b [...]

Answered By Tom Eickoff, Ph.D. - Mar 27, 2015

A: This is a good question and first, I would like to state that not all of the corn seed developed by Monsanto contains an inserted gene as some farmers prefer to plant conventional corn hybrids, and we continue to develop those seeds and make them available.  The ability to add specific beneficial genes to corn has enabled the use of additional tools to protect yield.  The type of genes that are added to genetically modified corn generally fall under three categories: herbicide tolerance, insect protection and drought stress protection.      Farmers have th [...]