domingo, junio 23, 2013

Monsanto and the World Food Prize

As reported in the New York Times, the prestigious World Food Prize was awarded today to a trio of scientists who had important roles in the early development of crop genetic engineering. One, Robert Fraley, is at Monsanto, and another Mary-Dell Chilton, is with another seed giant, Syngenta. The third is European scientist Marc Van Montagu.
When I was a doctoral student doing research using molecular biology in the 1980s (and in the early 90s as a post-doctoral researcher at USDA), the contributions of Chilton and Van Montagu were invaluable. Thirty years later, the science of applied molecular biology in agriculture, genetic engineering, is mired in controversy.
While these awardees have made some important contributions to science, it has not translated into major positive contributions to agriculture and food security—the supposed purpose for awarding the World Food Prize.

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