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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: Finish product ethanol after distillation which has no traces of GMO, made from GMO corn crop is it consider to be GMO free or not?

Answered By Robert Wager M.Sc. - May 11, 2016

A: As with this related question, the answer is far more complex than a simple yes or no. Different jurisdictions have different rules and regulations regarding what is a genetically engineered or GE (scientific term for GMO’s). Detectability is often the trigger for GMO status. A further complication has some jurisdictions exempt certain products from local GMO labeling rules.   Different jurisdictions have different rules about what constitutes a GMO product. Europe considers the threshold for GMO labeling to be any product containing ingredients derived from a GE crop at 0.9 [...]

GMOs Globally How GMOs Are Made


Q: Can GMOs be removed by distillation?

Answered By Robert Wager M.Sc. - May 19, 2016

A: Although this seems like a very straight forward question, there are different answers depending on which jurisdiction one ifis talking about and what one’s definition of GMO is. For the purpose of this answer we will define GMO as any organism that has had its DNA altered using genetic engineering (GE).   In the case of ethanol production there are several sources of components that are or have been derived from genetically engineered (scientifically correct term for GM) organisms. The carbon source may be from GE sugar beets or GE corn and the yeasts used to ferment the carbon [...]

Environment GMO Basics GMOs in Groceries


Q: The 'Frankenfood' Myth: A GE Salmon Is Still A Salmon

By Robert Wager M.Sc. - Jul 22, 2016

A:   This post was originally published on Forbes on Dec. 16, 2015. Guest post written by Rob Wager. Rob is a Faculty Laboratory Demonstrator at Vancouver Island University's Biology Department.   Last month, after twenty years in the regulatory system, the FDA finally gave approval to a genetically engineered (GE) salmon. This GE Atlantic salmon has been engineered to grow all year round so it grows up to twice as fast as wild Atlantic salmon. The GE salmon contains a Chinook salmon growth hormone gene controlled by an arctic fish promoter that keeps the gene turned on. The [...]



Q: What is the difference between a GMO and a product produced with genetic engineering? We got a mustard that says its a product produced with genetic engineering but non of the ingredients listed are GMOs. We are proGMO, just curious!

Answered By Robert Wager M.Sc. - Jun 08, 2017

A: The broad scientific definition of a GMO is any organism that has had its genome (DNA) modified. This of course includes virtually all food crops as domestication or breeding is, by its very nature, the modification of the genome of that crop. There are very few foods that have not been genetically modified by humans: wild fish, game, berries and mushrooms. Some “traditional” forms of breeding cause massive changes to the DNA. Examples include ionizing radiation mutagenesis or chemical mutagenesis that randomly change the DNA. There are thousands of commercial food crops made with th [...]

Plant breeding