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Peter J. Davies

Professor of Plant Physiology and International Professor of Plant Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca New York, USA

Expert Bio

Peter J. Davies holds a B.Sc. and Ph.D. from the University of Reading in England, and an M.S. from the University of California at Davis. His expertise is in the field of plant development, especially plant hormones and crop biotechnology.

At Cornell he teaches plant function and growth, a course educating non-biology students in the societal implications of advances in biology, and a course on GM crops, their regulation and societal implications. He also holds the position of a Jefferson Science Fellow at the United States Department of State serving as a science advisor in the area of agricultural biotechnology.

Studies, Articles and Answers

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Q: I know there haven't been definitive studies that conclude that GMOs can do harm to one's body, but have there been studies done that show GMOs do NOT harm our health?

Answered By Peter J. Davies - Jul 18, 2013

A: This is a good, thoughtful question. However, it is impossible for science to absolutely prove a negative. I can’t prove that you won’t be attacked by an emperor penguin next year; I can report only that, from our knowledge of penguins, almost certainly this will not occur, but no matter how much research is done, I can’t prove it. The same applies to GM foods. The science says that there should be no harm, and reliable studies to date have not shown any harm, but we cannot prove that there will never be any harm. All we can say is that all the evidence points toward GM crops being no differe [...]

Health & Safety How GMOs Are Made


Q: This question is for Peter Davies Regarding the statement that you made which follows "After sixteen years of consumption by billions of livestock, pets and humans, there has been no cases of allergy, cancer or death, or indication that the GMOs are of an

Answered By Peter J. Davies - Aug 28, 2013

A: How do you know? Exactly as reported: GM foods have been eaten over 16 years by billions of humans and livestock with no problems.  No long-term individual study can equal this experience.  Long-term animal studies have indeed been done [click here for a review and list of over 600 studies]. Such studies are very difficult to do with regard to controlling for all variability—e.g., rats can get sick from too many tomatoes. Long-term studies are also very expensive.  As we know the genes involved, and there is no cause to think that either the DNA or  the protein is any diff [...]

Health & Safety How GMOs Are Made


Q: "But where Calgene explicitly labeled their altered tomatoes, Monsanto took over huge markets of staple crops without marking any of their products as genetically modified

Answered By Peter J. Davies - Dec 03, 2013

A: Flavr-Savr tomatoes were developed to have a delayed over-ripening property so that they remained fresh in the retail trade for a longer period of time.  They have not been available since the 1990’s.  A blackening of the insides of tomato fruit is most likely blossom-end-rot occasioned by a deficiency of calcium during fruit development. When available, Flavr-Savr tomatoes were voluntarily labeled to inform consumers of the unique product benefits. [...]

GMOs in Groceries How GMOs Are Made


Q: In Support of GMO Crops

By Peter J. Davies - Mar 12, 2014

A: From Maui Weekly: Opinions expressed by opponents to genetically-modified crops make several claims about these crops. All these claims are, regrettably, based on falsehoods promulgated by a small minority who unfortunately fail to understand the science and safety behind these crops. What are they? Virtually all our crops are genetically modified in that they have been selected and bred by people to be more productive and provide benefits unavailable in their wild ancestors.  Modern corn is not only highly productive, but is unknown in the wild, and differs so much from its wild ance [...]