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Laura Privalle

Global Head Regulatory Field Study Coordination, Bayer

Expert Bio

Laura Privalle has worked in the agricultural biotechnology industry since 1984 after receiving her Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin. Her dissertation was on nitrogen fixation in blue-green algae. After a post-doctoral fellowship at Duke University where she worked on nitrite reductase, she joined CIBA-GEIGY’s brand new biotechnology unit. This subsequently became Novartis and then Syngenta. She has been working in Regulatory Science since 1992 and was deeply involved in producing the safety assessment package for the first transgenic maize product that received regulatory approval in the United States. In 2003 she joined BASF as head of Regulatory Science where she remained until 2013 when she joined Bayer. She has served as vice-chair and then chair of the Protein Allergenicity Technical Committee for the Health and Environmental Science Institute. She also serves on the Education Enhancement Grants panel for the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. In addition, she is a member of the Faculty of 1000 in the Agriculture and Biotechnology Section.

Studies, Articles and Answers

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Q: Carrots DNA apparantly contains a gene that that causes carrots to express orange pigmentation. Why don't we turn oeange when we eat and digest carrots? Also, some sweetcorn has genes that enable it to produce BT pesticide. There have been suggestions

Answered By Laura Privalle - Oct 10, 2013

A: The orange color in carrots is caused by beta-carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A. [This is found in the food itself. Our own genes do not take up the function from the carrot gene]. We eat carrots not only because they taste good but because they are a good source of thisnutritious compound.  Over consumption could in fact lead to your skin taking on an orange tinge.   Humans should generally never consume too much of any one thing.  Moderation is always best.Regarding your second question. This is not true for several reasons. DNA is present in all plant and animal c [...]

Environment How GMOs Are Made


Q: Does chronic contact to xenobiotic compounds in the human digestive tract carry health risks? Do GMOs contain any molecules that do not naturally occur in nature?

Answered By Laura Privalle - Nov 07, 2014

A: To answer the first question, we must consider the definition of “xenobiotic compounds.” According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a xenobiotic is “a chemical compound (such as a drug, pesticide, or carcinogen) that is foreign to a living organism.” By this definition, xenobiotics that are carcinogens cause cancer, for example. So, yes, chronic contact to some xenobiotic compounds can carry health risks. In answer to your second question: neither non-GM plants nor GM plants contain molecules that do not naturally occur in nature. However, any plant (conventionally, organically or gene [...]

Environment GMOs & Farmers Health & Safety


Q: Can the human body tell the difference between gmo and nongmo foods i.e. are they processed differently in our bodies?

Answered By Laura Privalle - Mar 12, 2015

A: No, the human body cannot tell the difference between foods containing GMOs and non-GMO foods. They are not processed differently in our bodies.    A GMO has a newly introduced gene that produces a protein that the plant did not previously produce (or a slightly modified version of a protein the plant normally produces). The human body handles all proteins – GMO or non-GMO – the same way regardless of their source, whether that source of protein came from meat, nuts, plants, fish, etc.  They are all digested into amino acids the same way, which are then absorbed a [...]

Environment GMO Basics Crop protectants


Q: are nuts genetically modified

Answered By Laura Privalle - Jul 31, 2015

A: There are no genetically engineered nuts on the market. A full list of all crops approved in the United States and around the globe can be found on the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) database of GM crop events and traits approved for commercialization and planting.    [...]

GMOs & Farmers How GMOs Are Made Crop protectants