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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: can you comment on this study about DNA damage due to Roundup Evaluation of DNA damage in an Ecuadorian population exposed to glyphosate

Answered By Kevin Folta - Jun 27, 2014

A: The report you refer to is by Paz-y-Miño et al. (2007), published in the journal Genetics and Molecular Biology, a small Brazilian journal (impact factor 0.73, so not a well-recognized journal). César Paz-y-Miño has an OK publication record and studies a number of regional issues using his expertise. This report assesses "DNA damage" using what's called a "comet assay," an assay in which cells are placed into an agar matrix and subjected to an electric field. DNA is charged, so it moves to the positive pole. Damaged DNA moves faster — that's the basis of the assay.  In this report, 24 pe [...]

Answered By Kevin Folta - Jun 27, 2014

A: The report you refer to is by Paz-y-Miño et al. (2007), published in the journal Genetics and Molecular Biology, a small Brazilian journal (impact factor 0.73, so not a well-recognized journal). César Paz-y-Miño has an OK publication record and studies a number of regional issues using his expertise. This report assesses "DNA damage" using what's called a "comet assay," an assay in which cells are placed into an agar matrix and subjected to an electric field. DNA is charged, so it moves to the positive pole. Damaged DNA moves faster — that's the basis of the assay.  In this report, 24 pe [...]

GMO Basics Health & Safety

Question

Q: can you comment on this study about DNA damage due to Roundup Evaluation of DNA damage in an Ecuadorian population exposed to glyphosate

Answered By Kevin Folta - Jun 27, 2014

A: The report you refer to is by Paz-y-Miño et al. (2007), published in the journal Genetics and Molecular Biology, a small Brazilian journal (impact factor 0.73, so not a well-recognized journal). César Paz-y-Miño has an OK publication record and studies a number of regional issues using his expertise. This report assesses "DNA damage" using what's called a "comet assay," an assay in which cells are placed into an agar matrix and subjected to an electric field. DNA is charged, so it moves to the positive pole. Damaged DNA moves faster — that's the basis of the assay.  In this report, 24 pe [...]

Answered By Kevin Folta - Jun 27, 2014

A: The report you refer to is by Paz-y-Miño et al. (2007), published in the journal Genetics and Molecular Biology, a small Brazilian journal (impact factor 0.73, so not a well-recognized journal). César Paz-y-Miño has an OK publication record and studies a number of regional issues using his expertise. This report assesses "DNA damage" using what's called a "comet assay," an assay in which cells are placed into an agar matrix and subjected to an electric field. DNA is charged, so it moves to the positive pole. Damaged DNA moves faster — that's the basis of the assay.  In this report, 24 pe [...]

GMO Basics Health & Safety

Question

Q: Do GMOs Cause Cancer?-- Submitted as Part of GMO Answers' Top Consumer Questions Survey --

Answered By Kevin Folta - Mar 18, 2014

A: The short answer is no, there is absolutely zero reputable evidence that GMO foods cause cancer.  Cancer is a name applied to a spectrum of diseases where cells proliferate abnormally. There is no way that the subtle and well-understood alterations of a plant’s genes can cause cancer. There is nothing about the Bt protein (used in insect resistance, also in organic pest control), the EPSPS enzyme (which confers herbicide resistance simply by substituting for the native enzyme in the plant) or the process itself that would induce such cellular changes in human cells that would l [...]

GMO Basics Health & Safety

Question

Q: Can you comment on these studies listed on a web site called 5 reasons to be concerned about GMOs? While Monsanto initially marketed Roundup as being safer than table salt, several studies have pointed to health risks. A 2008 study in Sweden linked Roundu

Answered By Kevin Folta - Aug 04, 2014

A: I'm glad to comment on these points. First, look at the dates. These are results, almost a decade old, that nobody else has repeated. Think about it. In science, everyone wants to be number two! If these results were real, they would have opened new worlds of inquiry with many labs and hundreds of papers.  When we talk about Roundup, we need to consider two things: toxicity and exposure. First, let's talk exposure. It is applied weeks before there is product on the plant, so even plants with “high” levels have very little (like, 20 ppm at worst). We understand how the active ingredient, [...]

Answered By Kevin Folta - Aug 04, 2014

A: I'm glad to comment on these points. First, look at the dates. These are results, almost a decade old, that nobody else has repeated. Think about it. In science, everyone wants to be number two! If these results were real, they would have opened new worlds of inquiry with many labs and hundreds of papers.  When we talk about Roundup, we need to consider two things: toxicity and exposure. First, let's talk exposure. It is applied weeks before there is product on the plant, so even plants with “high” levels have very little (like, 20 ppm at worst). We understand how the active ingredient, [...]

Health & Safety

Question

Q: Can you comment on these studies listed on a web site called 5 reasons to be concerned about GMOs? While Monsanto initially marketed Roundup as being safer than table salt, several studies have pointed to health risks. A 2008 study in Sweden linked Roundu

Answered By Kevin Folta - Aug 04, 2014

A: I'm glad to comment on these points. First, look at the dates. These are results, almost a decade old, that nobody else has repeated. Think about it. In science, everyone wants to be number two! If these results were real, they would have opened new worlds of inquiry with many labs and hundreds of papers.  When we talk about Roundup, we need to consider two things: toxicity and exposure. First, let's talk exposure. It is applied weeks before there is product on the plant, so even plants with “high” levels have very little (like, 20 ppm at worst). We understand how the active ingredient, [...]

Answered By Kevin Folta - Aug 04, 2014

A: I'm glad to comment on these points. First, look at the dates. These are results, almost a decade old, that nobody else has repeated. Think about it. In science, everyone wants to be number two! If these results were real, they would have opened new worlds of inquiry with many labs and hundreds of papers.  When we talk about Roundup, we need to consider two things: toxicity and exposure. First, let's talk exposure. It is applied weeks before there is product on the plant, so even plants with “high” levels have very little (like, 20 ppm at worst). We understand how the active ingredient, [...]

Health & Safety

Question

Q: GMOs are bad. Why do you want people to think they are safe? Why does the government keep this from the people? What are you trying to gain?

Answered By Kevin Folta - Jun 27, 2014

A: I'm a scientist and educator, so it is really important for me that our public understands science and technology. It is hard to see a good technology that has been used with an amazing safety and efficacy record get trashed.  So that's why I dip my toe into the discussion. We don't "think they are safe"; when we look at the data, there is no evidence to the contrary after 17 years on the market.  I can't speak for others, but I see this technology as a great way to solve problems for people. We can design crops to grow in floods, drought and heat. We can make plants with higher nut [...]

Answered By Kevin Folta - Jun 27, 2014

A: I'm a scientist and educator, so it is really important for me that our public understands science and technology. It is hard to see a good technology that has been used with an amazing safety and efficacy record get trashed.  So that's why I dip my toe into the discussion. We don't "think they are safe"; when we look at the data, there is no evidence to the contrary after 17 years on the market.  I can't speak for others, but I see this technology as a great way to solve problems for people. We can design crops to grow in floods, drought and heat. We can make plants with higher nut [...]


Question

Q: GMOs are bad. Why do you want people to think they are safe? Why does the government keep this from the people? What are you trying to gain?

Answered By Kevin Folta - Jun 27, 2014

A: I'm a scientist and educator, so it is really important for me that our public understands science and technology. It is hard to see a good technology that has been used with an amazing safety and efficacy record get trashed.  So that's why I dip my toe into the discussion. We don't "think they are safe"; when we look at the data, there is no evidence to the contrary after 17 years on the market.  I can't speak for others, but I see this technology as a great way to solve problems for people. We can design crops to grow in floods, drought and heat. We can make plants with higher nut [...]

Answered By Kevin Folta - Jun 27, 2014

A: I'm a scientist and educator, so it is really important for me that our public understands science and technology. It is hard to see a good technology that has been used with an amazing safety and efficacy record get trashed.  So that's why I dip my toe into the discussion. We don't "think they are safe"; when we look at the data, there is no evidence to the contrary after 17 years on the market.  I can't speak for others, but I see this technology as a great way to solve problems for people. We can design crops to grow in floods, drought and heat. We can make plants with higher nut [...]


Question

Q: Has a biotech company ever harmed a large population of people effecting multiple generations with debilitating health effects and tried to cover it up?

Answered By Kevin Folta - Oct 09, 2014

A: If they did, the cover up must be awfully good! In short, these are the occasional claims from recognized conspiracy theorists, but they don’t have a tippy-toe in reality. Biotech crops have never been connected to a single case of harm, let alone a population, let alone over generations! These crops are extremely prevalent. If there were an issue with these crops, it would be easy to spot. A recent report indicated that 100 billion animals showed no decreases in growth or development. That’s a good indicator that there’s nothing wrong. Plus, there are a lot of scientists, like me, who a [...]

Answered By Kevin Folta - Oct 09, 2014

A: If they did, the cover up must be awfully good! In short, these are the occasional claims from recognized conspiracy theorists, but they don’t have a tippy-toe in reality. Biotech crops have never been connected to a single case of harm, let alone a population, let alone over generations! These crops are extremely prevalent. If there were an issue with these crops, it would be easy to spot. A recent report indicated that 100 billion animals showed no decreases in growth or development. That’s a good indicator that there’s nothing wrong. Plus, there are a lot of scientists, like me, who a [...]

Business Practices

Question

Q: Has a biotech company ever harmed a large population of people effecting multiple generations with debilitating health effects and tried to cover it up?

Answered By Kevin Folta - Oct 09, 2014

A: If they did, the cover up must be awfully good! In short, these are the occasional claims from recognized conspiracy theorists, but they don’t have a tippy-toe in reality. Biotech crops have never been connected to a single case of harm, let alone a population, let alone over generations! These crops are extremely prevalent. If there were an issue with these crops, it would be easy to spot. A recent report indicated that 100 billion animals showed no decreases in growth or development. That’s a good indicator that there’s nothing wrong. Plus, there are a lot of scientists, like me, who a [...]

Answered By Kevin Folta - Oct 09, 2014

A: If they did, the cover up must be awfully good! In short, these are the occasional claims from recognized conspiracy theorists, but they don’t have a tippy-toe in reality. Biotech crops have never been connected to a single case of harm, let alone a population, let alone over generations! These crops are extremely prevalent. If there were an issue with these crops, it would be easy to spot. A recent report indicated that 100 billion animals showed no decreases in growth or development. That’s a good indicator that there’s nothing wrong. Plus, there are a lot of scientists, like me, who a [...]

Business Practices

Question

Q: How are GMO effecting small children, andor adults in America?

Answered By Kevin Folta - Jun 27, 2014

A: I'm glad to answer your question as a scientist, but also as someone who is raising his niece. I'd never give her something dangerous, and in our house we absolutely do not worry about GM foods.  Your question implies a negative effect of the technology, much like that derived from anti-GM websites. The scientific answer is that there are absolutely no cases of any harm from this technology in 17 years of use. That's in small children and adults — no problems.  If you search the web, you'll find many opinions that disagree with that statement. However, these are opinions. Websites f [...]

Answered By Kevin Folta - Jun 27, 2014

A: I'm glad to answer your question as a scientist, but also as someone who is raising his niece. I'd never give her something dangerous, and in our house we absolutely do not worry about GM foods.  Your question implies a negative effect of the technology, much like that derived from anti-GM websites. The scientific answer is that there are absolutely no cases of any harm from this technology in 17 years of use. That's in small children and adults — no problems.  If you search the web, you'll find many opinions that disagree with that statement. However, these are opinions. Websites f [...]