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What do you want to know about GMO?

Over the past 10 years, we’ve covered many topics related to biotechnology and other issues related to agriculture and food. As we begin our next 10 years, what do you want to know? Is there a particular person or company that you’d like us to interview? Cutting edge science or old school farming methods that you’d like to know more about? Maybe you’re interested in science communication and want to know more about how to make infographics, videos, or how to start a non-profit. Share what you want to know in a comment.

This isn’t just about us! What do you know about GMOs or other topics? Is there something you’d like to tell the world about food and agriculture? We welcome you to write for the Biofortified Blog, no matter your views.

As a bonus, we’re raffling off a signed first-edition copy of Tomorrow’s Table, authored by one of our founding board members, Pamela Ronald.

Congratulations to Rose Vernon for winning the raffle! We hope she enjoys Tomorrow’s Table as much as we did!

Raffle winner
Winner Rose Vernon, pictured at right.

Written by Anastasia Bodnar

Anastasia Bodnar is a science communicator and science policy expert with a PhD in plant genetics and sustainable agriculture from Iowa State University. Anastasia has had various risk analysis roles in US government and military service. She serves as BFI's Director of Policy and as Co-Executive Editor of the Biofortified Blog.

9 comments

  1. We have an idea from Facebook from Morgan S Woolf: I want to know more about some of the recent controversy with Romnen and the Non-bruising potato.while I am generally pro-GM, this is one of the first innovations that has given me pause. Is there more objective information out there regarding this?
    For those looking for more info about Simplot’s non-bruising potato, here is a good blog post explaining what the traits are. https://frankenfoodfacts.blogspot.com/2015/05/a-look-at-innate-potato.html and here is an intreview with Simplot’s VP of Plant Sciences https://www.biofortified.org/2013/05/qa-with-haven-baker-innate-potatoes/

  2. I’m curious about mutation breeding. What are the common varieties we can find the supermarket? Are there new varieties that have been marketed in the last 10 years?
    GMOs and gene editing get all the attention but what about some of the other breeding techniques? Maybe a deep dive into what foods are derived from what method.

    1. That’s a good question! I’m slowly developing an investigation into one particular mutagenesis source for one crop, which may touch on this. I just heard about a common variety of another crop that came from mutagenesis that has some interesting aspects to it that are under investigation. I’ll go looking for more of these stories!

  3. Another idea from Facebook, this from Raymond Eckhart: Can you folks use your contacts to find out what happened to the Golden Banana human trials at Iowa State University … there was much controversy at the time, with an intention to move forward, despite the protests.
    However, to my knowledge, nothing has been published, and a recent update from Uganda gave no indication that human trials have taken place.
    >>Buah said his team checked the vitamin content using molecular methods that confirmed the gene exists in the new banana varieties. Further confirmation came from the field trial site because the flesh of the fortified banana is a pinkish color. There is also an orange color expression deep in the leaves, meaning the gene inserted is fully integrated to the plants.<<
    https://allianceforscience.cornell.edu/blog/2018/10/ugandan-scientists-poised-release-vitamin-fortified-gmo-banana/
    -A good question to be sure! Now I am very curious, and will have to find out. Conveniently, Iowa State is less than an hour north of here.

  4. One submission from Twitter, @MaeztroML: “The number of “normal” vegetables and fruit that is actually the product
    of one form or another of GMO processes. Or has “foreign” DNA
    incorporated in its chromosomes. For example red grapefruit & sweet
    potatoes.”

  5. it’s a great time for this! I don’t think the public has ever been as interested in where their food comes from as they are now – and I think there’s a need in particular for expert, independent voices who can discuss what’s not so great about our current system and ways it could be improved from a perspective that appreciates the gains that “industrial” ag has achieved and how hard-won it has been. a couple examples off the top of my head…
    – the lack of identity preservation in our commodity supply chain prevents the development of varieties (or farming methods) that produce a healthier, better tasting or more sustainable product unless it ALSO increases yield and/or decreases input costs (which is typically impossible). what Indigo is attempting with their Marketplace could really open up a new kind of relationship between farmers and consumers that addresses quality, sustainability and ethical components of food production. of course blockchain always comes up in these identity preservation ‘know where your box of cereal came from’ discussions
    – seed and chemical companies make great seeds and chemicals but innovative agronomy and farming systems tend to get left behind. there are some conscientious and very talented farmers out there – especially in the organic space – who are producing a lot more with fewer inputs and pollution with some really clever methods. a particularly cool tactic I heard about was the success some have had planting their seeds (e.g. carrots, I believe) a bit too deep and then lightly disking the field right before emergence – leading to almost pure stands of the crop with no herbicides. there are lots of good experiments going on out there to try to specifically rebuild soil too.
    – and there are all the new crop species and current trends that keep showing up – vertical farming (which is going to disrupt traditional ag more than people realize), biological amendments, mechanization and robotics (e.g. showing up in east Washington apple orchards), alternative protein crops (plant-based, insect, aquaculture, lab-grown meat) and the emerging remote sensing and consulting-through-data-science sector. If I were a commodity farmer, I’d actually be a bit wary of a possible near-term future where they grow a crop on leased land, cultivate it with hardware that they sign licenses to use and don’t truly own and make decisions based on a consulting service company that knows their land better than they do…. anyway, I think there’s a lot of interest out there (and an opportunity for additional audiences) in not just hearing about ag more broadly but also hearing how it could be improved. just my two cents of course!

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