The genes we eat: a conversation

| November 16, 2012 |
Many worry that genetic advances could result in risks to our health and the environment—concerns that surfaced again in the fight over Proposition 37, the defeated California initiative that would have required all genetically modified foods to be labeled, and in a controversial French study suggesting that GM corn causes tumors in rats. How should scientists address these fears? What will the explosion in genome sequencing reveal about the history of our favorite crops? How will the foods of the future differ from those of the past? And how will the controversy about GM foods play out over the next decade? ScienceLive hosted a live web chat on the topic featuring experts in the field.

Thanks to the genetic revolution, we now know more than ever before about the evolution of our favorite foods, and we have the power to shape their future by introducing genes that increase resistance against disease, drought, and pests.

However, many worry that these advances could also result in risks to our health and the environment—concerns that surfaced again in the fight over Proposition 37, the defeated California initiative that would have required all genetically modified foods to be labeled, and in a controversial French study suggesting that GM corn causes tumors in rats. How should scientists address these fears? What will the explosion in genome sequencing reveal about the history of our favorite crops? How will the foods of the future differ from those of the past? And how will the controversy about GM foods play out over the next decade?

ScienceLive hosted a live web chat on the topic featuring experts in the field.

Guests:

  • Dr. Hans-Jörg Jacobsen, head of Institute for Plant Genetics of Leibniz University Hannover
  • Dr. Jordi Garcia-Mas, researcher at IRTA and Head of the Plant Genetics Department at the Center for Research and Agricultural Genomics in Barcelona, Spain
  • Dr. William Hallman, director of the Food Policy Institute at Rutgers University

[Note: this live chat took place on Thursday, 15 November. See below.]

View the original article (transcript of the chat) here: Live Chat: The Genes We Eat