David Jackson Ph.D.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Scientific Advisor

"“There’s great concern that we won’t be able to feed everybody in the coming years, I think that by producing higher yields, we can not only guarantee to feed the growing population, but also to hopefully improve sustainability, and be required to use less land for agriculture.”

Detlef Weigel Ph.D.

Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology
Scientific Advisor

“There is a lack of clear and concise available information on the drive and purpose of developing biotechnology in plants. The information presented to the public is poorly communicated and misrepresented by its opponents.”

Jonathan D. G. Jones Ph.D. FRS

Sainsbury Laboratory
Scientific Advisor

“GM is actually a method, not a thing. It's very important to bear that in mind and the method enables you to take DNA sequence from essentially any organism and use the properties of a bacterium called agrobacterium to deliver that DNA into a plant cell. If that DNA carries a gene that serves a useful purpose, for example enhances crop resistance to insects, then you can get a plant back that has properties that you could not have achieved by plant breeding.

A plant carries 50,000 genes or so, and the idea was to put in a gene or two that confers a useful new trait. And to do that, you take advantage of a bacterium called agri-bacterium which naturally causes galls on a number of crops, particularly grapevine but a number of others too. And it does this by introducing DNA into the cells of that plant, that make the plant more conducive to the growth of bacterium. And what scientists have done over the last 30 years actually, is to understand this process, break it down into components, and then use their knowledge of the DNA that transfers the DNA into the plant cell and get rid of the genes that make the plant cell do a number of growth characteristics that are not good for the plant. And then you can put in genes that confer properties that would be advantageous for the crop and then what you do, is you incubate the plant cells with the bacteria and then you select for those plant cells that receive the genes that you're interested in and then at the end, you get a plant back from that, that has 50,000 genes it started with and has a couple of new genes as well.”

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Michael Neff Ph.D.

Washington State University
Scientific Advisor

“There is no credible reproducible scientific evidence that eating a GM crop is dangerous for you because it is a GM.” Click here for his interview.

Mark E. Sorrells Ph.D.

Cornell University
Scientific Advisor

"Inexpensive DNA sequencing, genotyping, new statistical methods, high throughput phenotyping, and gene-editing are revolutionizing breeding methods and strategies for improving both quantitative and qualitative traits. Genomic selection (GS) models use genome-wide markers to predict performance for both phenotyped and non-phenotyped plants. Aerial and ground imaging systems generate data on correlated traits such as canopy temperature and normalized difference vegetative index that can be combined with genotypes in multivariate models to further increase prediction accuracy and reduce the cost of advanced trials with limited replication in time and space. Design of a GS training population is crucial to the accuracy of prediction models and can be affected by many factors including population structure and composition."

Denis J. Murphy Ph.D. FRSB

University of South Wales
Scientific & Policy Advisor

“This will potentially impose highly onerous burdens on the use of genome editing both in agriculture and even in medicine, where the method has recently shown great promise for improving human health and well being. It is of course important that, like any new biotechnology, genome editing is properly assessed and regulated according to evidence-based scientific criteria. However, by simply lumping together genome editing with the completely different GM/transgenic biotechnologies, the CJEU has missed a historic opportunity to create a new regulatory framework for this new biotechnology. In the rest of the world genome editing will continue to be used for human welfare, whether in curing hitherto intractable genetic diseases or in helping developing countries grow better crops. But sadly much of Europe might miss out on such opportunities if genome editing becomes effectively impossible to use in the EU.”

Clark Wolf Ph.D.

Iowa State University
Policy, Ethics & Sustainable Agriculture Advisor

“My background is in policy. I’m presently working under grants from NSF and USDA on consumer trust and regulation of GM agricultural products, on research ethics, and on decision management for policy makers. I’ve recently completed projects on science communication, intellectual property, and sustainable agricultural development.”