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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

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Showing 10 out of 59 results

Question

Q: Hi, whats the difference between God Made/given food vs Human made food such as GMO type food? plus i agree that all food should be graded and labeled.

Answered By Kevin Folta - Jan 27, 2014

A: Kevin Folta, Interim Chair and Associate Professor in the Horticultural Sciences Department at University of Florida, has created a video response to your question. Please view the video here: . A transcript of the video is included below: Well, thank you for the question. This is a really interesting one to me because I’m really interested crop domestication. How did the wild weeds that were dotted all over the globe turn into elite foods that have tremendous nutritional potential for human beings? And, this is a really important question because when people say “God-made” I t [...]

GMO Basics How GMOs Are Made

Question

Q: How much have the biotech companies donated to the Horticultural Sciences Department, University of Florida?

Answered By Kevin Folta - Oct 09, 2014

A: We get this question a lot, mostly because U.F. faculty do take the time to help actively clarify biotech concepts for public audiences. Some folks immediately question the integrity of public scientists who step out of the lab and talk to the public, inferring some level of financial motivation. That’s sad, because communicating science is an important part of our job.   But to answer the question: There are zero “donations.” At least during the last five years (all I checked), there are not even any grants or research agreements between the Horticultural Sciences Department at U.F. an [...]

Answered By Kevin Folta - Oct 09, 2014

A: We get this question a lot, mostly because U.F. faculty do take the time to help actively clarify biotech concepts for public audiences. Some folks immediately question the integrity of public scientists who step out of the lab and talk to the public, inferring some level of financial motivation. That’s sad, because communicating science is an important part of our job.   But to answer the question: There are zero “donations.” At least during the last five years (all I checked), there are not even any grants or research agreements between the Horticultural Sciences Department at U.F. an [...]

Business Practices GMOs & Farmers

Question

Q: How much have the biotech companies donated to the Horticultural Sciences Department, University of Florida?

Answered By Kevin Folta - Oct 09, 2014

A: We get this question a lot, mostly because U.F. faculty do take the time to help actively clarify biotech concepts for public audiences. Some folks immediately question the integrity of public scientists who step out of the lab and talk to the public, inferring some level of financial motivation. That’s sad, because communicating science is an important part of our job.   But to answer the question: There are zero “donations.” At least during the last five years (all I checked), there are not even any grants or research agreements between the Horticultural Sciences Department at U.F. an [...]

Answered By Kevin Folta - Oct 09, 2014

A: We get this question a lot, mostly because U.F. faculty do take the time to help actively clarify biotech concepts for public audiences. Some folks immediately question the integrity of public scientists who step out of the lab and talk to the public, inferring some level of financial motivation. That’s sad, because communicating science is an important part of our job.   But to answer the question: There are zero “donations.” At least during the last five years (all I checked), there are not even any grants or research agreements between the Horticultural Sciences Department at U.F. an [...]

Business Practices GMOs & Farmers

Question

Q: Has their been research performed on the tissue removed from diverticulitis patients or leaky gut patients to test for the presence of bt? It seems like the logical place to look.

Answered By Kevin Folta - Nov 07, 2014

A: Diverticulitis is a disease of the large intestine in which small pockets or pouches form in the intestinal wall, become inflamed and cause complications. The disease, its risk factors and its causes are well understood. To date, it has no association with the Bt protein, or with transgenic crops in general.  While it might seem like a logical association at first blush, a bit of understanding of the Bt mechanism of action makes the hypothesis of “Bt linked to digestive disorders in humans” less compelling. Bt is a protein that requires species-specific processing and molecular inte [...]

Health & Safety

Question

Q: What would be a common agreement for both people who are for gmos and people against?

Answered By Kevin Folta - Jun 27, 2014

A: Both realize the need to produce more food with fewer inputs — to do more with less. We need more food and better-quality food, made with less water, less pesticide, less labor and less fuel, and with sensitivity to the environment. We need to help those in the developing world.  That's the good news. We are all on the same page.  Those against GMOs need to understand the science and how it is being stopped from helping solve the problems we all have identified. Solutions exist, but they are blocked from making progress toward safe and effective implementation.  My advice is to [...]

Answered By Kevin Folta - Jun 27, 2014

A: Both realize the need to produce more food with fewer inputs — to do more with less. We need more food and better-quality food, made with less water, less pesticide, less labor and less fuel, and with sensitivity to the environment. We need to help those in the developing world.  That's the good news. We are all on the same page.  Those against GMOs need to understand the science and how it is being stopped from helping solve the problems we all have identified. Solutions exist, but they are blocked from making progress toward safe and effective implementation.  My advice is to [...]

Labeling

Question

Q: What would be a common agreement for both people who are for gmos and people against?

Answered By Kevin Folta - Jun 27, 2014

A: Both realize the need to produce more food with fewer inputs — to do more with less. We need more food and better-quality food, made with less water, less pesticide, less labor and less fuel, and with sensitivity to the environment. We need to help those in the developing world.  That's the good news. We are all on the same page.  Those against GMOs need to understand the science and how it is being stopped from helping solve the problems we all have identified. Solutions exist, but they are blocked from making progress toward safe and effective implementation.  My advice is to [...]

Answered By Kevin Folta - Jun 27, 2014

A: Both realize the need to produce more food with fewer inputs — to do more with less. We need more food and better-quality food, made with less water, less pesticide, less labor and less fuel, and with sensitivity to the environment. We need to help those in the developing world.  That's the good news. We are all on the same page.  Those against GMOs need to understand the science and how it is being stopped from helping solve the problems we all have identified. Solutions exist, but they are blocked from making progress toward safe and effective implementation.  My advice is to [...]

Labeling

Question

Q: were learning about this in school and i wanted to ask if gm foods could get to out of hand and be a potential risk to our environment

Answered By Kevin Folta - Oct 09, 2014

A: You raise an important point, because nobody wants to create a plant, GMO or not, that might cause ecological issues like becoming invasive. This is why evaluation by EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is so critical in transgenic (GMO) plant deregulation, and why the process takes so long. Those improving plant genetics by breeding or biotech are sensitive to the environment, so just about every new plant, GM or from traditional breeding, is carefully evaluated for potential invasiveness. This can be an issue for sure with certain grasses an [...]

Answered By Kevin Folta - Oct 09, 2014

A: You raise an important point, because nobody wants to create a plant, GMO or not, that might cause ecological issues like becoming invasive. This is why evaluation by EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is so critical in transgenic (GMO) plant deregulation, and why the process takes so long. Those improving plant genetics by breeding or biotech are sensitive to the environment, so just about every new plant, GM or from traditional breeding, is carefully evaluated for potential invasiveness. This can be an issue for sure with certain grasses an [...]

Environment Crop protectants

Question

Q: were learning about this in school and i wanted to ask if gm foods could get to out of hand and be a potential risk to our environment

Answered By Kevin Folta - Oct 09, 2014

A: You raise an important point, because nobody wants to create a plant, GMO or not, that might cause ecological issues like becoming invasive. This is why evaluation by EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is so critical in transgenic (GMO) plant deregulation, and why the process takes so long. Those improving plant genetics by breeding or biotech are sensitive to the environment, so just about every new plant, GM or from traditional breeding, is carefully evaluated for potential invasiveness. This can be an issue for sure with certain grasses an [...]

Answered By Kevin Folta - Oct 09, 2014

A: You raise an important point, because nobody wants to create a plant, GMO or not, that might cause ecological issues like becoming invasive. This is why evaluation by EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is so critical in transgenic (GMO) plant deregulation, and why the process takes so long. Those improving plant genetics by breeding or biotech are sensitive to the environment, so just about every new plant, GM or from traditional breeding, is carefully evaluated for potential invasiveness. This can be an issue for sure with certain grasses an [...]

Environment Crop protectants

Question

Q: If nonGMO zucchini is pollinated by GMO zucchini is it also GMO? Would thewhole immature fruit or just the mature seeds test positive for GMO?

Answered By Kevin Folta - Jun 27, 2014

A: First, there is no GM zucchini, but I'll be happy to chase a hypothetical scenario. The fruit is maternal tissue, meaning that every cell comes from the mother plant's tissues. The only "GMO" part would be the embryo and parts of the seed; potentially somewhere between half and all of the embryos would contain a transgene. I hope this helps. UPDATED ANSWER (9/29/14) Dear Joe, After I posted the original response I received several notes indicating I was incorrect—and I was! About 30% of zucchini is multi-virus resistant, falling under the category of “squash”. We talk about a s [...]

Answered By Kevin Folta - Jun 27, 2014

A: First, there is no GM zucchini, but I'll be happy to chase a hypothetical scenario. The fruit is maternal tissue, meaning that every cell comes from the mother plant's tissues. The only "GMO" part would be the embryo and parts of the seed; potentially somewhere between half and all of the embryos would contain a transgene. I hope this helps. UPDATED ANSWER (9/29/14) Dear Joe, After I posted the original response I received several notes indicating I was incorrect—and I was! About 30% of zucchini is multi-virus resistant, falling under the category of “squash”. We talk about a s [...]

GMOs & Farmers

Question

Q: If nonGMO zucchini is pollinated by GMO zucchini is it also GMO? Would thewhole immature fruit or just the mature seeds test positive for GMO?

Answered By Kevin Folta - Jun 27, 2014

A: First, there is no GM zucchini, but I'll be happy to chase a hypothetical scenario. The fruit is maternal tissue, meaning that every cell comes from the mother plant's tissues. The only "GMO" part would be the embryo and parts of the seed; potentially somewhere between half and all of the embryos would contain a transgene. I hope this helps. UPDATED ANSWER (9/29/14) Dear Joe, After I posted the original response I received several notes indicating I was incorrect—and I was! About 30% of zucchini is multi-virus resistant, falling under the category of “squash”. We talk about a s [...]

Answered By Kevin Folta - Jun 27, 2014

A: First, there is no GM zucchini, but I'll be happy to chase a hypothetical scenario. The fruit is maternal tissue, meaning that every cell comes from the mother plant's tissues. The only "GMO" part would be the embryo and parts of the seed; potentially somewhere between half and all of the embryos would contain a transgene. I hope this helps. UPDATED ANSWER (9/29/14) Dear Joe, After I posted the original response I received several notes indicating I was incorrect—and I was! About 30% of zucchini is multi-virus resistant, falling under the category of “squash”. We talk about a s [...]

GMOs & Farmers