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Ray Dobert, Ph.D.

Global Biotech Policy Manager, Bayer Crop Science

Expert Bio

I’ve held a variety of roles in Monsanto’s biotech regulatory group since joining the company in 1998. Previously I worked at USDA-APHIS as a Biotechnologist reviewer and as the Coordinator of the Biotechnology Information Center based at the USDA’s National Agricultural Library. I received my Ph.D. in Agronomy-Crop Physiology and conducted my post-doctoral research in plant-microbe molecular genetics. I am currently Global Biotech policy Manager at Bayer.

Studies, Articles and Answers

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Showing 10 out of 11 results

Question

Q: Does Monsanto crops or products contain the Epicyte gene or any other gene that acts in the same way to create antibodies that kill or block sperm?

Answered By Ray Dobert, Ph.D. - Aug 01, 2013

A: No, none of our products has ever contained gene encoding for anti-sperm antibodies.  To answer your specific question about Epicyte: we did not have any agreements with Epicyte or Biolex Therapeutics (the company that acquired Epicyte in 2004) to conduct joint research or develop products.  Claims that Monsanto was involved in the research or development of food crops containing antibodies that kill or block sperm are incorrect.  [...]

GMO Basics How GMOs Are Made

Question

Q: Does Monsanto crops or products contain the Epicyte gene or any other gene that acts in the same way to create antibodies that kill or block sperm?

Answered By Ray Dobert, Ph.D. - Sep 13, 2013

A: No, none of our products have ever contained genes encoding for anti-sperm antibodies.  To answer your specific question about Epicyte: we did not have any agreements with Epicyte or Biolex Therapeutics (the company that acquired Epicyte in 2004) to conduct joint research or develop products.  Claims that Monsanto was involved in the research or development of food crops containing antibodies that kill or block sperm are incorrect.  [...]

GMO Basics Health & Safety

Question

Q: Having researched the topic, I don't believe there are any immediate health problems associated with consuming GMOs. However, what worries me is the potential repercussions on the environment and the gene pool. How can companies such as Monstanto and DuPo

Answered By Ray Dobert, Ph.D. - Dec 20, 2013

A: Thanks for your question regarding potential long-term impacts of GM crops on the environment.  We are getting close to having 20 years of commercial experience with the first GM crops, and to date there have not been any notable negative environmental impacts associated with these products. GM crops have been integrated into existing agricultural systems and, in many instances, have prompted a reduction in the impacts that agriculture can have on the environment. For additional information to answer your question, take a look at this previous answer by Bruce Chassy, professor emeri [...]

Environment Crop protectants

Question

Q: Activists in India allege that GM Plants have terminator gene and can't be reused. (As a farmer I know seeds taken out from Hybrid Seed whether GM or Non GM can not be reused ). I understand American farmers use Non Hybrid GM Seed ? Will the seed taken fr

Answered By Ray Dobert, Ph.D. - Nov 25, 2014

A: I hope that I understand correctly, but it seems like you are asking two separate questions.   Are farmers in India restricted from replanting their GM seed because it has terminator technology? There is no terminator in India or elsewhere. Monsanto has never developed a biotech (GM) trait that resulted in sterile — or “Terminator” — seeds. We made a commitment in 1999 not to commercialize technologies that result in sterile seeds in food crops, and we have no plans or research that would violate this commitment. (Visit Monsanto’s website for more inform [...]

Business Practices GMOs & Farmers

Question

Q: Would you please post the actual safety data (not summaries) submitted to and reviewed by the FDA for the sweet corn event currently in the market?

Answered By Ray Dobert, Ph.D. - Feb 07, 2014

A: Below are the links to the petitions for sweet corn that are posted on the USDA website.  USDA reviewed each of these petitions prior to deregulating these corn products and allowing seed companies to sell seed to U.S. farmers for planting. While FDA does not post these petitions online, the USDA petitions are excellent references because they contain nearly all of the same information and data (including the details on our testing methods) that were submitted to FDA as part of the food safety consultation. The key difference is that the information in these petitions is presented i [...]

GMO Basics Health & Safety

Question

Q: Which position is adopted by FAO and WTO about commercialization of GMO ?

Answered By Ray Dobert, Ph.D. - Feb 11, 2015

A: The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a United Nations-based organization that has been involved in discussions on the use of biotechnology in agriculture since the technology was first utilized for agricultural applications nearly 30 years ago.   Over the years the organization and its leaders have had many different statements about various aspects of GM crops from safety to benefits to impacts on food security. The organization is comprised of 184 member countries and has generally had a balanced approach towards GM technology – recognizing the utility of the tools of [...]

Labeling

Question

Q: Why do gmo foods taste so bad?

Answered By Ray Dobert, Ph.D. - May 15, 2014

A: I have been around many folks who have eaten food derived from GMO crops since they were introduced in the mid-1990s, including my family, and I have not heard anyone comment on their tasting bad. (Now, brussels sprouts (which are not technically GMOs but did result from quite a bit of genetic modification) are a different matter—lots of complaints there.) From personal experience with eating a range of foods that are GMO (like Bt sweet corn right out of the field, virus-resistant papaya or even foods made with products that are no longer with us, like bruschetta with FlavrSavr tomato an [...]

Health & Safety

Question

Q: If biodiversity is actually enhanced by the adoption of GM crops, then why is genetic biodiversity in crops only decreased or remained more or less the same to the point where many species could be wiped out by 1 disease? Shouldnt we be seeing genetic dif

Answered By Ray Dobert, Ph.D. - Nov 25, 2014

A: The question about the impact that GM crops have had on crop genetic diversity is one that gets asked quite a bit. Genetic diversity within a given crop is an issue distinct from the potential impact that GM crops may have on biodiversity at an ecosystem or more global level. Another question on impacts on biodiversity has been previously answered by Martina Newell-McGloughlin.    It is important to recall that GE crops differ from conventional varieties at only the one location in the genome where the transgene has been inserted. As breeders develop new varieties contai [...]

Health & Safety

Question

Q: I know that this year the patent of Monsanto RR gene in soybean is expired. Is the gene sequence of the cp4epsps free as well? Can I clone and use it in my plant without legal issues?

Answered By Ray Dobert, Ph.D. - May 01, 2015

A: You are correct, the patent for the cp4 epsps gene conferring glyphosate tolerance in our first generation  Roundup Ready® Soybean has expired.  See more information as to what seed can be saved and on RR Soybean Patent expiration on our websites.  Unfortunately, it seems that your question is seeking legal advice and I cannot provide legal advice.   Any new biotech crop produced using the cp4 epsps gene would have to go through the same safety evaluations and regulatory reviews that the current products on the market have gone through.  So it’s important [...]

Business Practices

Question

Q: How many commercial transgenic crops are the creation of single amino acid changes in single proteins? This would be the most conservative type of genetic modification possible, involving even less change replacing one gene from another organisms analogou

Answered By Ray Dobert, Ph.D. - Sep 28, 2015

A: I am not aware of any commercialized transgenic crops that have a single amino acid change to a single protein.  The closest example would be the glyphosate-tolerant corn, event GA21, which was developed by changing two out of the 445 amino acids in the corn EPSPS protein. This change resulted in 60,000-fold reduced sensitivity of the enzyme to the herbicide compound glyphosate.     If you are basing the degree of conservativeness on changes to the protein, an even more conservative change would be one where no new protein is made at all. This is the situation [...]

GMO Basics How GMOs Are Made