Line 4Line 4 Copyic/close/grey600play_circle_outline - material

Kevin Folta

Professor and Chairman, Horticultural Sciences Department, University of Florida

Expert Bio

Kevin Folta is a professor in and chairman of the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida, Gainesville. He got his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from University of Illinois at Chicago in 1998, and he has worked at University of Wisconsin before settling in at University of Florida. Dr. Folta researches the functional genomics of small fruit crops, the plant transformation, the genetic basis of flavors, and studies at photomorphogenesis and flowering. He has also written many publications and edited books, most recently was the 2011 Genetics, Genomics, and Breeding of Berries. Dr. Folta received the NSF CAREER Award, an HHMI Mentoring Award and was recognized as "University of Florida Foundation Research Professor" in 2010.


Studies, Articles and Answers

Filter by

Showing 4 out of 49 results


Q: Can you describe in detail the process by which genes are altered in foods?

Answered By Kevin Folta - Aug 08, 2013

A: In the wild, the transfer of genes within and across species is fairly common, either through traditional reproduction (breeding) or through non-traditional means.  Viruses and bacteria do this all the time, as do plants and animals. Human DNA, for instance, is full of viral genes.  When humans began to farm between 10 and 20 thousand years ago, they took the seeds from their best edible wild plants and sowed them to create crops. Early farmers selected the most desirable plants to provide seeds for the next year’s crop. They looked for faster growth; higher yields; larger seed [...]

GMOs & Farmers How GMOs Are Made Crop protectants


Q: Maybe GMO's aren't the problem. They are only the enabler in the case of Roundup Ready. Enabling food to be doused with it. Roundup is supposed to be safe on humans since it only attacks plants. Isn't our gut flora and fauna plant like? This retired MIT

Answered By Kevin Folta - Aug 09, 2013

A: Plants are not "doused" in Roundup or, more precisely, its active ingredient glyphosate.  Relatively small amounts of glyphosate are applied as weeds emerge.  These die and do not compete against emerging glyphosate-resistant crops.  Glyphosate is amazingly non-toxic to humans or any other animals.  Acute effects are seen only at relatively high doses. The LD50 (the dose that kills half of the rats that consume the dose) is about 5,000 mg/kg of body weight.  In other words, if you weigh 200 pounds, you'd have to drink about two pounds of the 41 percent commercial conc [...]

Environment Health & Safety How GMOs Are Made


Q: What does the research conclude about the bioaccumulation of bt toxin resulting from humans consuming GMOs? And did the producers of GMOs produce the evidence of its safety to the FDA before putting these products on the market?

Answered By Kevin Folta - Aug 13, 2013

A: What do you think would happen if a 200-pound human being was force-fed, with a tube down the throat into the stomach, pure bacterial spores equivalent to half a roll of nickels, and then tested for effects 24 hours later? My guess is that you’d see a screaming immune response, massive response from gut flora and probably some effects on physiology that would be reflected in the blood. Agreed? If you agree, then the results of this hypothetical “experiment” are the same as those performed on mice in the Mezzomo study. In short, the work by Mezzomo et al. (J. Hematology and Thromboem [...]

Environment GMOs & Farmers Crop protectants


Q: A study conducted by Brazilian researchers found acute Roundup exposure at *LOW* doses (36ppm, 0.036g/L) for 30 minutes induced cell death in Sertoli cells in prepubertal rat testis. Are you saying that this study, and ALL studies that find safety issues

Answered By Kevin Folta - Aug 14, 2013

A: Short answer, note that the researchers used "Roundup", not the active ingredient glyphosate. It is sort of like saying water is toxic to cells because bleach is 95% water, and when they were incubated with bleach they died. Roundup is a formulation of glyphosate plus a surfactant, in this case POEA. Surfactants are wetting agents, think of them as detergent-like. They help break surface tension on a plant's foliage so the active ingredients have better penetration. This way farmers can use less active ingredient. The effects of POEA on cells in culture and negative impacts in aquat [...]

Environment Health & Safety How GMOs Are Made