Talking Biotech: Podcast with Kevin Folta

A science based assessment of new technology and the future of food. 100% funded by Kevin Folta.


Talking Biotech: Rothamstead’s aphid-repelling GMO wheat; Critique of Adyydurai’s formaldehyde claim

& | August 4, 2015 |

This week’s podcast is an important analysis of two published reports. First, the results from the famous Rothamstead wheat trial show that their transgene does not confer resistance to aphids, inconsistent with their laboratory findings. While this outcome was considered to be a successful, reliable answer, it was billed as an abject failure on anti-biotech activist websites. We revisit the issues of publication and peer-review, and the story of the threats of vandalism against the experiment. We then will speak with Prof. John Pickett from Rothamstead Research Institute. We’ll discuss the lab work the trials, and future directions.


The second part of the podcast discusses the recent publication from V.A. Shiva Adyydurai et al that claims transgenic soy produces abnormal amounts of formaldehyde, relative to non-transgenic controls. The conclusion results from a computational approach that was never experimentally validated. Since, I have extended an offer to test their hypothesis, yet they have not accepted the opportunity to examine if their prediction is in fact correct. Meanwhile, they are using this paper as a warning about transgenic crops.

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  • Thomas Baldwin

    Rothamstead has stellar researchers! Longest running wheat trials on the planet. Great podcast.

    Using a promoter to turn on resistance in direct response to a pathogen has great advantages. In a sense, it builds a better “mouse trap”. I can see where constitutive promoters are just easier to control experiments.