Plant Biotechnology: A Reality Check on the State-of-the-Art

Speaker: Categories: Aug 08, 2007


[1hr, 14min, 44sec / 51min, 32sec]


Have you noticed anything new and different in the produce section of your favorite market lately? Might have been golden-colored cauliflower - or bright, orange-colored sweet peppers? How about the melon family - any new looks there? And has your curiosity (and appetite) nudged you to make the purchase? Were you pleasantly surprised with the served-on-your-plate end product(s)? What's on your menu today which could not have been 20 years ago; 30 years ago; 50 years ago?

Dr. Holland sets the stage for the August 11 presenntation by noting,"Plant biotechnology has been Widely commented on in the popular press over the past 10-12 years. There are those who fear-monger on the catastrophes that'might'occur, while others have promised utopia with this technology. With ten years of biotechnology food and feed plants being consumed by humans and animals, what is the reallity in 2007? Has mankind created those much vaunted'super weeds?'Is food utopia anywhere near at hand? Have any been sickened or died from eating modified foods?

This San Diego Adventist Forum will review the promises and the fears, with an update on where the science of plant biotechnology is positioned today. Has there been progress in the science or softening of attitudes by those who oppose forms of modernization they don't entirely understand? Has the techhnology delivered as promised, or is it still looking for the proverbial silver-lined cloud?

The January 2005 discussion of this topic outlined the science of plant biotechnology and how genes are manipulated, giving results not likely to occur in nature alone. BUilding on that discussion, this forum will be a reality check on the technology and an evaluation of how near we might be to providing medications in common foodstuffs - eat a medium-size banana for your daily insulin dose, or childhood vaccinations in breakfast cereals - It will also reflect on the fortification and enhancement of foodstuffs with vitamins and other healthful changes.


Clive Holland has global responsibilities for alfalfa, sorghum& wheat for Pioneer Hi-Bred International, a plant genetics commercial enterprise, based in Des Moines, Iowa. In addition to these bread-and-butter roles he focuses considerable time and energy into communication and education in the science of biotechnology. He has tesstified on biotechnology before government commissions in a number of countries and presented to numerous govvernment departments and administrators on the science of recombinant DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) technology.

He has most recently been embroiled in the first ever reecall of a released biotechnology event. The 8th Federal District Court of California ruled Mar 12, 2007, an injuncction on all commercial activity with alfalfa modified to resist a popular herbicide. This has provided an interesting insight into how the law is being used successfully by those who previously created little impact through vandalizing and destruction of biotechnology enhanced crops.

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