Biotech industry will engage public to ease fear of CRISPR gene editing


A new gene-editing technology known as CRISPR could soon be used to alter the crops producing the food we eat — making tomatoes sweeter, for example, or vegetables more resistant to disease.

Larry Gilbertson, a longtime scientist with Monsanto, believes some of the controversy surrounding GMOs stemmed from the giant agriculture company’s lack of direct engagement with the public. Monsanto — now known as Bayer Crop Science after Bayer bought Monsanto for $63 billion this year — plans to do better with products made with CRISPR technology ….

Gilbertson was in Chicago …. at the Foodscape conference on emerging food trends. The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Q: Consumers who don’t like GMOs might not like gene editing either. How is Bayer planning to address their concerns?

A: First, we want to be part of the conversation …. We’re very proud of our GMO technology and we continue to support that. But we are engaging more with the public …. As a scientist, I wish I could just explain how it works and everyone would just be OK with it. But we know it’s more than just understanding. Food is emotional and I understand that …. The coolest science in the world doesn’t matter if the world isn’t ready for it.”

Related article:  What are the Challenges Facing Modern Farming Around the World?
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped

Video: We can ‘finally’ grow GMOs—Nigerian farmer explains why developing countries need biotech crops

Nigerian farmer Patience Koku discusses the GMO crop trials she is conducting on her farm, and why growers can "rise ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend