Mary-Dell Chilton, developer of first transgenic plant, on future of GMOs

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.

. . .Mary-Dell Chilton, a newly anointed National Academy of Inventors Fellow, is at least partially responsible for the way our food system works today.

That’s because Chilton, now 77 and a scientist at Syngenta, led the team in the early 1980s that produced the world’s first transgenic plant. . .  Tech Insider caught up with Chilton to get her thoughts on mentoring other scientists, the controversy over GMOs, and what the future holds.

. . .The problem is that people are creating the illusion of safety issues to make problems for the product. They do this for a variety of reasons. . . .

In many cases, opponents of the technology are opposed to large companies being involved in the seed business. I like to tell people that the technology is safe, that we learned it from a microbe that did it in nature. Although the technology is new in another sense it’s really old. Agrobacteria has been doing it for centuries.

Chilton, a 2013 winner of the World Food Prize, still doesn’t think the potential of GMO technology has been realized. . .

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“Everybody in this field is concerned about perception. I think that’s going to be the main issue, not the technology. The technology is going to get better and better. . .” says Chilton. “The need will get greater and greater. If climate change is really the problem we’re afraid it is. . .”

For her part, Chilton still does GMO research at Syngenta, where she works in a building that has a portrait of her on the wall. “I do experiments at the bench, which is my idea of fun,” she says.

Read full, original post: The woman behind GMO technology on feeding the world and never-ending controversy

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