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Robert Wager M.Sc.

Faculty Member, Biology Department, Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo BC Canada

Expert Bio

I have been a Faculty member of the Biology Department of Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo BC Canada for 23 years. My training is in Biochemistry and Molecular biology. I am an independent scientist with zero financial connection to the biotechnology industry. I have been involved in GMO research with an emphasis on public education for 13 years. I have given many talks and written many articles for the general public that explain different aspects of GE technology. Most can be read on my website at

Studies, Articles and Answers

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Q: I just saw your TED talk on GMOs and have a question:If you developed a hybrid plant by the "normal" vertical exchange of genes - say a hybrid tomato - would some of the negative effects of GMOs such as rogue proteins and horizontal gene transfer to bacte

Answered By Robert Wager M.Sc. - Dec 20, 2013

A: There are a great many myths about GMOs on the web.  Two of the latest myths are the alleged threats of “rogue proteins and of horizontal gene transfer.” The "term rogue protein" invokes all manners of unease, but there is virtually zero evidence of such damaging proteins in the commercial GM crops.  There are several reasons for this.  First, when any eukaryotic cell has a misshaped, or “rogue,” protein, there is a system called ubiquination that tags the dysfunctional protein.  Then systems within all eukaryotic cells recognize the tagged faulty protein and destroy it.&n [...]

Health & Safety How GMOs Are Made


Q: Why are all the answers on this site pro GMO? Is there no a single drawback to GMO foods over conventional food and organic food?

Answered By Robert Wager M.Sc. - Sep 23, 2014

A: GM crops have been quite successful since they arrived on the market 20 years ago. The US National Academy of Sciences’ 2010 report “Impact of GE Crops on Farm Sustainability in the United States” offers an in-depth analysis on the subject. Its conclusion was: “In general, the committee finds that genetic-engineering technology has produced substantial net environmental and economic benefits to U.S. farmers compared with non-GE crops in conventional agriculture.”  That is not to say there are no significant issues — there most definitely are. However, when one looks at the legi [...]

GMOs & Farmers Health & Safety How GMOs Are Made


Q: what are some safty problems with GMOs

Answered By Robert Wager M.Sc. - Jan 30, 2015

A: When discussing safety of GM crops and derived food it is easier to separate the food safety aspects from the environmental aspects.  This answer will deal with food safety issues.   Every GM crop is extensively tested for food safety considerations before it is allowed to be commercialized.  The testing protocols are based on internationally agreed criteria (OECD, WHO).  A good document that outlines the testing protocols is the Guidance for risk assessment of food and feed from genetically modified plants: EFSA Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO).   Th [...]

GMO Basics GMOs & Farmers GMOs Globally


Q: what are two potential problems with genetically engineered foods?

Answered By Robert Wager M.Sc. - Jul 06, 2015

A: The Internet can be a wonderful source of science information.  Unfortunately, it also contains a great deal of false information on genetically engineered (GE) crops.   Most people are not aware of the extensive pre-market testing that must be done before any GE crop is allowed to be commercialized.  In reality, GE crops are tested 10-50 times the level of non-GE crops.  The testing examines potential hazards and the likelihood of exposure to determine the overall risks for GE crops and derived foods.    When testing food for safety international agreed s [...]

GMO Basics GMOs & Farmers GMOs Globally