Highlighting Dr. Ania Wieczorek’s “Biotech in Focus” series

Earlier this year, a fantastic new series of bulletins covering a wide range of biotechnology-related topics was launched – “Biotech in Focus”. Spearheaded by Dr. Ania Wieczorek, each bi-weekly newsletter focuses on a single key topic, and manages to pull relevant examples, images and information into a concise, two-page PDF. The content, as well as the format, make each bulletin a valuable educational resource. Dr. Wieczorek, who counts teaching science to children in her community among her duties, is Director of the Biotechnology Outreach Program at the University of Hawaii. And, while she has recognized the ability for biotechnology to
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Ag-biotech infographics: Education through visualization

Consumer interest in biotech foods has grown rapidly over the past few years, yet interest in the fastest adopted crop technology in history has been accompanied by a spike in misinformation. As a result, it is difficult for consumers to obtain an accurate understanding of this complex subject. For some biotech opponents, the complexities are of little concern, as long as the goal of boosting fear of biotechnology is accomplished. The more inflammatory and shocking a claim, the quicker it spreads. Basing these claims on facts is not a prerequisite, though including a horrifying (and nearly always completely misleading or
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Consumers choose GE corn over conventional

David Walton, whose family has been farming in Iowa since 1836, has a philosophy that “each generation MUST leave the soil in better condition than we found it”. To this end, he employs a variety of crop production methods, including both GE and conventional seed, to produce high-quality food. Despite seeing the value biotechnology can often offer to farmers like himself, he’s often wondered if the public would embrace biotech crops more readily if these foods offered direct consumer benefits. David recently put that speculation to the test by selling both GE and conventional sweet corn at his roadside stand.
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Top 10 Consumer Questions About GMOs – Part 2

Continuing our countdown of GMOAnswers’ expert responses to the top-10 questions consumers have about biotech foods, here are #1-5: 5)  Are GMOs contaminating organic food crops? This is an important issue, and not a new one; neighboring farmers managing different crops and production methods have been going on long before GE crops were introduced. While pollen drift does occur in some instances, low-level presence of a biotech trait is allowed in organic production as long as the proper organic protocols are observed, so the risk to organic growers is minimal. As an aside, for Arctic® apples in particular the risk
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Top 10 Consumer Questions About GMOs – Part 1

Earlier this year GMO Answers, a website devoted to answering questions about biotech foods and providing reputable resources on the subject, released a list of the top 10 questions submitted by consumers. These questions were determined via a U.S. nationwide poll, and answers were gathered from scientists, doctors and other reputable experts. Now, a top-10 list with a few paragraphs answering each question about biotech foods may already be fairly “digestible” (ahem…) but if the developers of nonbrowning Arctic® apples know one thing, it’s that people value as much convenience as possible! So, without further ado, here are our ultra-concise,
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The best of both worlds: biotech’s health & sensory benefits

Consumers try to eat healthy, they really do! It’s too bad our silly little brains are programmed to often value instant gratification over long-term benefits, or else we’d all be super-fit gym nuts with 90-year life expectancies. Anyone who’s ever made (and then broken) New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier knows what we’re talking about. Plenty of research demonstrates that even though most consumers say they’re interested in eating healthier, their resolve slips when they’re actually shopping and eating, as they’re swayed by the convenience and taste of less nutritious alternatives. Yet, rather than change human nature itself, why not
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The simple science behind Arctic® apples

“Simple” might not be the first word you’d associate with biotechnology. But, it fits when it comes to the precise science behind Arctic® apples! Compared to conventional breeding, which has much less predictable results, Arctic® apples are quite simple indeed. Think about the genetic traits we pass on to our children. Perhaps you’d be thrilled if your kids inherited your blue eyes, but not so much if they get your big ears. Well, it often comes down to luck, and just as you can’t choose which traits your children inherit, it’s the same with fruit breeding. You might get a low-browning apple,
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PBH’s “Fruit & Veggie Connection” highlights safety, benefits of biotech foods

The Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) is one of the premiere sources for evidence-based information on the value of fruit and veggie consumption. One of their many great resources is a quarterly magazine, “Fruit & Veggie Connection”, which explores issues important to registered dietitians and other health professionals. Their most recent issue does an expert job tackling a complex issue: biotech foods. PBH has kindly agreed to let us share one of our favorite articles from this publication, which examines the safety and benefits of biotech foods, and also addresses common consumer questions.   
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Jack Bobo: Can Agriculture Save the Planet before It Destroys It? (Part 2)

On April 30th, we shared Part 1 of a guest post from U.S. State Department’s Jack Bobo on the importance of feeding a rising global population. Mr. Bobo’s post concludes this week with Part 2: In order to sustainably feed 9 billion people, global agriculture will need to produce 60% more food using less land, less water, less fertilizer and fewer pesticides. In other words, we will need to do everything better than we are doing it today and our rivers and lakes are already running dry. The rapid pace of technological development suggests that scientists may, indeed, be able
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Jack Bobo: Can Agriculture Save the Planet before It Destroys It? (Part 1)

Mr. Jack Bobo is a leading expert on agricultural biotechnology, and his expertise is reflected in his roles at the U.S. Department of State – Chief, Biotechnology and Textile Trade Policy & Senior Advisor for Biotechnology. Mr. Bobo understands the need for agricultural innovation as well as anyone, so we are very pleased to share a guest post he has written for us on the monumental challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050. The first half of this post is below, while the second half will be posted later in May: Most people spend little time thinking about where
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