With Dr. Kevin Folta · 1,500,000+ listens
Talking Biotech is a weekly podcast that uncovers the stories, ideas and research of people at the frontier of biology and engineering. Each episode explores how science and technology will transform agriculture, protect the environment, and feed 10 billion people by 2050. Interviews are led by Dr. Kevin Folta, professor of the horticultural sciences department at the University of Florida.
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Nature's transgenics: Evidence of lateral gene transfer in plants with Dr. Lara Pereira
Stopping Long-Term Disease by Arresting Aging - Dr. Eric Morgen
Aging is a normal developmental program that involves discrete expression of specific genes leading to particular physiological changes.
The Risks of Manufactured Viruses - Dr. Kevin Esvelt
Can biotechnology be used in malevolent ways? The simple and inexpensive ways to generate genetic material make creating viruses easier than ever.
Biotech Fetal Diagnostics - Daniel Weisman
How is biotechnology used to make predictions about fetal health conditions? Modern techniques can analyze DNA without invasive sampling, and a lot may be learned about fetal health from a mother's blood test.
Brexit May Bring Gene Editing to the UK- Cameron English
Brexit saw the UK step away from the European Union, with many economics and social repercussions. However, this change also brings scientific benefit, as the UK no longer has to function under the EU's regressive scientific regulatory hand.
Releasing the Biotech Blight Resistant Chestnut - Erik Carlson
The American chestnut was a dominant tree in many of the forests of the eastern United States. In the early 20th century an imported fungus spread quickly through the population, destroying trees across the range.
New Cancer Drugs: Breaking the Cell Cycle -- Spiro Rombotis
The cell cycle is a coordinated series of steps that cells follow during replication. Defects in cancer cells target or override these chemical constraints in proliferation.
374 Bioengineering Yeast for Better Beer - Dr. Charles Denby
Beer is a beverage derived from the interplay of chemistry within hops and grains, fermented by brewer's yeast.
Genes Controlling Plant Size
Plant stature is a surprisingly important trait. Growing short has its advantages, so understanding the genetic controls is important.
As Gods: A Moral History of the Genetic Age - Matthew Cobb
Just because we can, does it mean that we should? Technology is developing so fast and enables so many new opportunities, but is there reason to occasionally pause and consider broader implications? Prof.
The Genomes of Parasites - Dr. Jessie Kissinger
Parasites are a massive threat to human and animal health, underlying a significant number of important diseases.
Cancer Misinformation - Dr. Skyler Johnson
As lifespan increases due to prevention and treatment of infectious disease and heart disorders, long-term issues like cancer become more prevalent.
Livestock, Climate Change, and Attacks on a Scientist - Dr. Frank Mitloehner
Dr. Frank Mitloener is an expert in the contributions of livestock to climate change. He is a researcher that studies ways to mitigate the greenhouse gases from ruminant digestion, and a trusted expert in outreach to ensure the implementation of new strategies.
A Gene-Edited Vaccine Against Malaria - Dr. Stefan Kappe
Malaria is a deadly, mosquito-vectored disease in areas of the Developing World. Intensive efforts have resulted in few effective prophylactic or therapeutic practices or products that are without serious limitations.
Seralini's Lumpy Rats - Ten Years Later
Ten years ago a scientific paper claimed definitive evidence linking genetic engineering to tumors. The study by Giles-Eric Seralini and his team at CRIIGEN stunned the world, and it was amplified through social and traditional media.
New Therapeutics for Novel Problems through Collaboration - Dr. Betsy O'neill
How can collaboration bring new technology to those that need it, faster? Dr. Linda O'Neill, VP of External Innovation at Horizon Therapeutics describes how strategic partnerships can speed the development and deployment of new therapeutics, particularly for autoimmune disorders and potential treatments for rare disease.
The Long COVID HERV Connection - Dr. Claudia Matteucci
Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) are ancient viruses found in our genomes, remnants of long-past infections.
Purple Tomatoes and Health - Dr. Cathie Martin
The purple compounds in fruits and vegetables associate with the perception of health and flavor. Prof.
Rapid Detection of Sexually Transmitted Infections with Microfluidics - Dr. Anna Dixon
Sexually transmitted infections, once thought to be low frequency events, are staging a comeback. Dr.
The Gut-Brain Axis: What it is, associated problems and new therapies. Nancy Thornberry
Research is showing a more intimate association between the digestive system and the brain, a bi-directional sensing and signaling network that directs digestive physiology.
Precision Insect Control with Gene Editing
Insects inflict tremendous human casualty and massive losses in agriculture. For more than half a century Sterile Insect Technique has been implemented to crash invasive or dangerous populations by damaging insect genetics and releasing them into target populations.
Update on Animal Gene Editing
Amazing innovations in animal gene editing have the promise to streamline agriculture, with benefits for agricultural producers, consumers and the environment.
Creating Targeted Antibodies in Single Cells
Antibodies are one line of adaptive immune response, responding to new antigens that may represent threats.
Extending Health and Life, Starting with Dogs
Dogs are an excellent model to study the genetics and mechanisms of aging. Loyal CEO Celine Halioua describes how genetic variation between breeds leads to specific effects on lifespan and "healthspan", and how new therapeutics might enrich and extend their lives.
Optimizing Animal Microbiomes
The microbiome is a population of bacteria, fungi, protists and viruses that inhabit a specific environment.
Glyphosate in Breast Milk? Eco-Modernism
This episode has two parts. In the first part lactation specialist Dr. Shelley McGuire discusses the new paper that claims to have found glyphosate in breast milk.
Stool-Based Detection of Colon Cancer
Colorectal cancer is one of the most deadly cancers in the industrialized world. However, dangerous malignancies occur after multiple committed genetic steps at the cellular level that happen over years.
Microalgae: Factories for Improved Polymers
Modern life has benefitted from the development of polymers that can be fashioned into everything from car parts, to children's toys, to medical devices.
CAR-T Therapies to Reverse Cardiac Fibrosis
Injury to heart tissue results in non-functional scar tissue that compromises cardiac function. A new approach combines targeted lipid nanoparicles and mRNAs to reprogram immune cells to seek and destroy the pathogenic fibroblasts that limit heart function.
352 - Prions and Chronic Wasting Disease
Chronic wasting disease is an increasingly common prion-based disease of deer and other cervids. Dr. Sandra Pritzkow describes the disease, it's transmission, and efforts to mitigate its spread.
351 - Biotech, Pesticides, Toxicology and Food
There is abundant conversation about pesticides and food, especially in social media. Unfortunately, there is little understanding about regulation, dosage, tolerances and toxicity.
Methylation of DNA, Relationship to Disease
Methylation is the addition of a small methyl group to specific bases of the DNA helix. Addition of a methyl group can change how the DNA blueprint is accessed and expressed.
Addressing the Issue of Scientific Reproducibility
Trust in science is predicated on independent reproducibility of research results. Perceived breakdowns in reproducibility have gained much recent attention, and it is up to the scientific community to devise new mechanisms to help ensure methods and results are complete and transparent.
The Human Protein Atlas
Proteins are the central catalytic and structural components of cells, and ultimately are at the center of cellular function.
New Drugs that Repair Broken Genes
Many diseases do not have cures, yet have a foundation in deleterious genomic mutations. Dietrich Stephan of NewBase describes a novel custom drug design platform that shows amazing potential in animal models, and seeks to directly reverse currently untreatable disease.
An Owner's Manual for Your Brain
In the age of an internet full of false information, how do we tell the real from the fictitious? Jon Guy introduces his new book, Thinking Straight- an owner's manual to the mind.
Update on Self-Limiting Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes are the world's most deadly insect, vectoring dozens of bloodborne diseases. Oxitec has been revising "sterile insect" techniques classically used in mosquito control with modern technologies that are more precise.
New Drugs Targeting Dangerous Cholesterol
Specific modifications of cholesterol appear to be central in heart disease, stroke and other disorders.
Breeding the Next Amazing Apple
Apples are a fruit favorite. What are modern breeders doing to create the next generation of superior fruits, that offer flavors for consumers and sustainability traits for farmers? Dr.
Biological Plasticity, Bioelectricity, and Limb Regeneration
Dr. Michael Levin of Tufts University discusses his laboratory's eclectic research programs that may be changing the way we think about animal development.
Consumer Sentiment and Gene Editing
Scientists say that gene editing will have profound positive impacts in medicine and agriculture. But what do consumers think? Today's Talking Biotech Podcast talks to agricultural economist Dr.
Stopping Bleeding with Algal-Based Polymers
Catastrophic bleeding is a cause of death after a wide variety of wounds in humans and other animals.
Fungal Toxins in Food
Mother Nature has created some of the world's most carcinogenic compounds. These natural fungal products are present on many commodity crops, and have profound impacts in the developing nations.
Plastics and Fuels from Camelina
Camelina is a mustard-family plant that may be genetically engineered to create a wide variety of important products, from plastics to jet fuel.
Endogenous Retroviruses and Disease, Dr. Arvinda Nath
Our genomes carry a massive amount of integrated viral DNA from infections in our ancestors. New evidence shows that they may be reactivated and drive cancer and neurological disorders.
Evaluating Scientific Claims - Melanie Trecek-King
The world's information is available to us at our fingertips. How do we recognize good sources and evaluate scientific claims? Melanie Trecek-King describes her tool kit for critical thinking.
Resetting the Table with Dr. Robert Paarlberg
Dr. Robert Paarlberg discusses his book, "Resetting the Table - Straight Talk About the Food We Grow and Eat".
Biotech and Tick Vectored Disease
Ticks are important disease vectors, spreading Lyme Disease and other human pathogens. New technology permits improved functional genetic research as well as creates a basis for genetic engineering strategies to limit populations or control disease vectoring.
Plant Viruses / X Files Science
Dr. Anne Simon describes viral threats to plant biology, and discusses how scientists have harnessed viruses to solve problems in agriculture.
New Therapies for HERV-Based Disease
Expression from Human Endogenous Retroviruses (HERVs) has been liked to Multiple Sclerosis and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and other neurological diseases.
Talking Biotech Podcast Changes and Future
New sponsorship will improve the listener experience. Here are some of the changes you'll see with this opportunity.
Avocado Genetics and Improvement
The avocado is a nutritious and delicious fruit. Today's episode discusses its history, domestication, breeding priorities and future.
Hollywood and the Percy Schmeiser Story
The story of Percy Schmeiser is a well known tale of big biotech against the little farmer from rural Saskatchewan.
The Importance of Telling Ag’s Story
One of the criticisms of farmers is that they fail to engage the public to show what they do. It is understandable, their days are busy, competition is stiff, and farming selects for folks that shun the spotlight.
Attacking Disease by Targeting Proteins
Many diseases are rooted in the incorrect accumulation of proteins that regulate key cellular processes.
Update on Transgenic (“GMO”) Chestnut
The American Chestnut used to dominate Appalachian forests, but declined after a fungal disease was introduced to North America in the early 1900’s.
Is Biotechnology Just New Colonialism?
Two unusually parallel articles emerged this week, both claiming that modern ag technology (as they say, “GMO”) is just another arm of colonial control of the Developing World.
Wine Flavor: Merging Grape and Yeast Genomes
Wine is a fermented beverage that has been enjoyed for millennia. While many may feel that the grapes used produce the flavors in the wine, a substantial contribution comes from the yeast and specialized bacteria that performs feats of biochemistry on the components lent by the grape itself.
Cindy’s Gift to End Glioblastoma
At the early age of 47 Cindy Lee Graham lost her battle with glioblastoma. Glioblastoma is an insidious cancer of the brain and central nervous system that slowly robs its victims of critical faculties, with a very low survival rate.
Gender Equity in the Pharmaceutical Industry
The executive ranks of the pharmaceutical industry are populated with a clear over representation of older males.
The Challenges of Growing Plants in Space
Sustained space travel and colonization will depend on the ability to grow food in extra-terrestrial environments.
Tiredness: Time for DNA Repair!
We all know the feeling of tiredness, but what causes the urge to sleep? Prof. Lior Appelbaum discusses the link between sleepiness and DNA damage, as sensed through the accumulation of a protein known as PARP1.
Reprogramming T-Cells for Immunotherapies
T Cells are the body’snatural defenders against pathogens. In the past they have been reprogrammed to recognize specific surface antigens of cancer cells to attack and destroy them.
Breeding Future Olives
Olives have a prominent role in the production of aromatic healthy culinary oils and brined olives for the table.
Insulin from Synthetic Biology
Thirty million Americans depend on daily doses of insulin to stay alive. This small protein hormone is responsible for the regulation of blood sugar, and plays a key role in all aspects of physiology, as well as long-term effects on health.
What We Can Learn from Ancient DNA
How can analysis of DNA isolated from old, preserved organisms, bones, or tissues tell us about life today? Dr.
Integrated Molecular Strategies in Combating Disease
New strategies in gene therapy are integrating multiple modern techniques to take on contemporary challenging diseases, such as solid-tumor cancers.
Genetic Counseling in the Biotech Era
Genetic counselors play a critical role from pre-natal guidance to lifelong expertise in managing genetically-based disorders.
Rediscovery of New Cancer Drugs
Drug pipelines are thick with novel compounds that may have an effect on our most insidious diseases.
Evidence that Modern Birds are Dinosaurs
The classical assumption was that the modern dinosaur lineage led directly to today’s reptiles. However, a growing suite of evidence has shown that modern birds more closely emulate prehistoric creatures.
Debunking Jeffrey Smith
We must be dedicated to fighting back against false information in food and medicine. Jeffery Smith is a personality with no scientific training that has used disinformation to taint an important public discussion on biotechnology for over 25 years.
Influencing a Conversation with a #ScienceHug
In this week of technical failures and personal challenges, this week’s podcast investigates the merits of civil conversation.
Relax and Enjoy Your Food
There is no such thing as bad food, it is just bad diets, so says Craig Good. Various life events caused him to rethink his relationship with food, and a keen skepticism led him to carefully evaluate the mistakes we make, the myths we accept, and the potential reasons we have an epidemic of diet-related illness and an internet packed with fad diets.
Misinformation and GMOs
How does misinformation about genetically engineered crops (GMOs) start and how do we correct it? These are questions asked by Prof.
Glyphosate Residues and Dietary Exposure
The herbicide glyphosate has been used for decades, with increased use paralleling the adoption of genetically engineered crops.
Florida’s COVID Response / Long COVID
Today’s podcast features two interviews about COVID19. The first is an interview with Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried.
Early Cancer Detection with Liquid Biopsy
Many cancers are much more curable if detected early. However, the current suite of detection methods are slow, expensive and can’t detect a problem until it is advanced.
Last Minute Guests!
Yay for gremlins! Technical difficulties precluded the planned podcast, but that didn’t stop two good interviews from materializing a the last minute.
Activating Suites of Plant Genes with Cas9
The role of Cas9 as an editing/deletion nuclease has been well established, but can it be used to turn genes on? Dr.
COVID19 Detection in Masks and Wearables
COVID19 is the spectrum of pathologies caused by the SARS-CoV2 virus. While the pandemic moves well into its second year, the importance of detection in populations cannot be overstated.
Virus Resistant Cassava in Kenya
Cassava is a staple for one in ten people on earth, grown mostly by small famers tending a few acres.
The Battle to Teach Science
Episode 300 is guest-hosted by Ally Kennedy. She interviews Dr. Kevin Folta about the obstacles to communicating science over the last decade.
Revisiting Huber’s Claims
He jet-sets around the planet and writes letters to government officials, brandishing academic and military credentials.
Good Science Information vs Disinformation Feedback Loops
The Genetic Literacy Project is a popular science news website. A diverse set of articles and viewpoints are presented, with original articles and news aggregated from the internet.
Smart People, Bad Food Choices
Jack Bobo has been studying food, farming and the associated psychology for decades, asking questions about the choices people make around food.
Turning Plastic Waste Into Vanilla
We have two major problems. Vanilla is mostly produced in a narrow set of unstable economies and the supply chains are especially vulnerable.
Evidence of Widespread Gene Transfer
Analysis of massive genomic DNA sequence data indicates that gene transfer between similar species actually happened, and did so at a surprising rate.
Widespread GMOs in Nature
One of the major objections to genetic engineering is that a DNA segment is transferred to the crop, and lands in a somewhat random location.
Debunking the Disinformation Dozen
Dr. Dan Wilson is a rising star of science communication. His popular YouTube channel Debunk the Funk provides entertaining and evidence-based dissection of issues around science, vaccination and COVID19.
Peptoids as Therapeutic Tools
Peptides have increasingly emerging roles in cellular signaling and anti-microbial applications. Peptioids are cousins of their active peptide analogs, only synthesized with a durable bond that helps the molecule evade cellular turnover mechanisms.
Kleptoplasty and a Solar-Powered Animal
A solar-powered animal? There are species of sea slugs that consume algae, then integrate the chloroplasts into their own digestive cells.
Methylation Clocks, Aging and Disease
The basis of aging and long-term degenerative disease have been formidable questions for scientists. Over the last decade several “methylation clocks” have been devised to examine modifications of DNA that match well with developmental state and disease presentation.
The GalSafe Pig and Xenotransplantation
Last week’s episode covered Alpha Gal Syndrome, the tick-induced allergy to beef and pork. The same immunological response could also limit a recipient’s access to xenography or xenotransplantation, that is, the introduction of pig and cow tissues and organs for human benefit.
Alpha Gal Syndrome
You find a tick on your skin and remove it. The next day you eat a sausage and wind up in the emergency room in anaphylaxis.
Bioluminescence, Antibiotic Resistance, and Science Communication
Today’s podcast is an interview with New Zealander of the Year Dr. Siouxsie Wiles. Dr. Wiles’ program uses bioluminesence as a marker to follow bacterial growth and disease progression.
Identifying Rare Compounds with A.I.
While genomics approaches have opened a universe of new compounds in plants, the vast majority remain uncharacterized.
Your DNA Sequence, Benefits and Risks
Your DNA contains all of the information that makes you, you. With increasing understanding of the genetic basis of disease, the information in every cell may help anticipate, correct, or otherwise treat latent medical issues.
Combating Vaccine Hesitancy
The COVID19 vaccines were produced in record time, an amazing feat. However, additional challenges have been revealed in their distribution.
Misinformation vs. An Honest Conversation
This week’s podcast is a dissection of another popular podcast that features self-proclaimed experts in genetic engineering (familiarly GMO), and the falsehoods they propagate.
An App to Identify On-Target Gene Editing Variation
At its core, gene editing works to break gene function by creating errors in a DNA sequence at a specific location.
COVID19 Testing and Personal Cancer Screenings
One of the major failures of addressing the COVID19 pandemic is the breakdown of testing. The NFL and White House were able to maintain business as usual because of daily, accurate testing.
Greenpeace Beginnings, and Golden Rice
Dr. Patrick Moore was a founding member of Greenpeace. In the years past its inception he worked tirelessly on ecological issues.
New Technology to Save Bananas
Bananas and other tropical crops have tremendous value, not just to farmers in the Developing World, but also as products that are enjoyed widely in highly industrialized nations.
Gene Editing and Recovery from Radiation
Radiation is a natural energy that constantly bombards us. At the same time we have harnessed its power for medical imaging, therapeutics, energy and warfare.
SARS-CoV2: Immune Response and RNA Vaccines
The story of biotechnology’s response to the pandemic is an amazing one, and we continue coverage of these events as they arise.
Amazing Products from Algae
Algae efficiently convert carbon dioxide into oils, and they are now being bred to generate a suite of compounds that may be synthesized into fuel and polymers that are the basis of biodegradable plastics.
Targeting Cancers with Gene Editing
Certain aggressive cancers have profound effects on lifespan and quality of life. Patient prognosis can be grim, and therapies are harsh.
GE Crops: What do Consumers Really Think?
Consumers have many opinions about food, and are continually bombarded by information from manufacturers to self-proclaimed experts.
2020 Science Stories
The COVID-19 pandemic overshadowed an incredible year of innovation in biotechnology. Today’s podcast is a simulcast between the Science Facts and Fallacies with Cameron English and Talking Biotech.
Immune Response to COVID19 and its Vaccines
The COVID19 vaccines have the potential to squelch a dangerous pandemic. However, the public has many questions about their safety and efficacy that could limit their broad administration.
mRNA Vaccine Mechanism, Safety, Communication
Two mRNA vaccines have been approved to lead the fight against COVID19. Both have been rapidly approved with Emergency Use Authorization, which does not build public trust.
Apple Domestication and Variation
Apples seem rather ubiqutous, but what we see in the stores are just a sample of the genetic diversity that is out there.
The Ag Innovation Ecosystem
Despite its essential role in the economy and food security, agriculture has lagged behind with respect to adoption of new technology.
What is an mRNA Vaccine?
mRNA vaccines have recently been in the news as an exciting potential preventative of SARS-CoV2. The technology seems new, but has roots in the 1990’s and a long history of maturation, plagued by technical barriers and skepticism.
Genetic Engineering in Animal Agriculture
Technology is driving innovation on the farm, and there have been significant efforts in improving livestock.
Gene Writing: New Tech to Correct Disease
Gene editing is a relatively new technology that has revolutionary applications in agriculture and medicine.
Onion Domestication and Improvement
The onion has tremendous value in culinary applications all over the world. Where did it come from? What are the major breeding efforts and the important traits.
What are Pumpkins?
On Halloween it is hard to remember that the pumpkins used for decoration are actually an important food for indigenous people of the Americas.
The Ethics of Gene Editing
Gene editing moved quickly from the lab to application, so fast that the public is unsure how to think about it.
New Technology Same GMOs : My Commentary
This week two scientists pioneering gene editing won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Days later, a group of perennial naysayers gathered to denounce the technology.
Vaccines Against Digestive Cancers
Digestive cancers are among the most common and deadly cancers in the world, comprising metastases of the colon, esophagus, stomach and rectum.
Communicating Ag in an Attention Economy
Dr. Cami Ryan has examined the social factors that underlie decisions. Today these human tendencies are critical to understand, as everyone is bombarded by information through social media.
Drug Targets for HIV
The human immunodeficiency virus remains prevalent in the population, yet it as silently moved out of the public’s consciousness, overshadowed by COVID19 and drug cocktails that can control its progression.
Rapid Detection of Bloodborne Pathogens
Sepsis is an infection of the blood. It can be critical and life threatening, and can complicate other co-morbidities.
Plants Engineered to Remove Indoor Air Toxins
Indoor air contains a variety of harmful compounds. We invite many of these compounds into our homes in electronics, and others occur spontaneously from our water supply, and as homes become more energy efficient and dependent on air conditioning, these chemicals concentrate in our homes.
Communicating COVID19; Careful with Cancellation
This week’s guest is the host! It was important to discuss communication tips during a pandemic, especially around popular myths and news stories involving COVID19.
GE Mosquito Release in Florida
Florida is the canary in the coalmine for mosquito-transmitted disease in the USA. The Florida Keys are especially vulnerable.
Penguin Genomics and Adaptation
Penguins are charismatic, flightless, diving birds. While typically associated only with Antarctica, their center of origin, radiation and speciation has been widely debated.
The Race to the COVID19 mRNA Vaccine
Most experts agree that the COVID19 pandemic will not end until a vaccine is available. But traditionally, vaccines take a decade to develop and test.
Prions: Infectious Proteins
A number of strange, devastating and lethal diseases are caused by prions. The most famous of these disorders in animals is Bovine Spongiform Encelapathy, or “Mad Cow Disease”.
The Bull that (probably) Sires Mostly Bulls
Male cattle (bulls) convert feed calories to weight gain more efficiently than females (cows). If more bulls could be put into beef production, the process would be even more sustainable.
The Unfortunate Casualties of an Anti-Biotech Attack
In 2001 the Earth Liberation Front bombed the office of Dr. Toby Bradshaw at the University of Washington.
Most organisms on earth evolved under constant intervals of light and darkness. The regular intervals led to the evolution of internal clocks that are trained by the light/dark patterns, and condition responses from gene expression to higher physiology and morphology.
Dr. Alan McHughen has been a leader in biotechnology education for decades, and has served in public academic research as well as an advisor to the State Department in the Obama Administration.
A Science-Based Glyphosate Documentary
The documentary space is littered with videos that misrepresent science, especially around agriculture.
Gene Editing in Species Conservation
Analysis of populations of animals can be problematic, especially when individuals of different species share similar visual characteristics.
COVID19 Update — What is Circular Health?
Dr. Ilaria Capua is one of the world’s most prominent virologists, and a Professor at the University of Florida and the Director of the One Health Center of Excellence.
The Dawn of Plant Genetic Engineering
Today’s podcast marks five complete years of podcast episodes, and there’s no better guest than someone on the Mount Rushmore of plant genetic engineering.
What is Aflatoxin? What is Aflasafe?
Aflatoxin is a natural poison emitted by several species of fungi. They infect grain, and exploit insect damage.
The Klamath Basin Water Crisis; Your Questions Answered
Today’s podcast starts with answering your questions, covering biodynamic farming, cover crops and my financial transparency.
Inside Monsanto; Communication in Science and Agriculture
Crowe has a background that shifted between the Peace Corps in Kenya, a deckhand on an ecotourism ship, and a position with the World Bank.
COVID19: Do Masks Matter?
Throughout the COVID19 pandemic we have heard various opinions about wearing face coverings and protective masks.
Pandemic Cuisine: COVID19 and Food Trends
Leah McGrath is a Registered Dietitian with a great presence in social media. She is the corporate dietitian for a major grocery chain, and has had an important role in shaping the messaging around the multitude of food issues.
COVID19 Epidemiology Trends
From the dawn of the pandemic there has been a notable rise in false information that clouds public perception and harms trust in scientific guidance.
The Vaccine Manhattan Project
The wartime response of the Manhattan Project streamlined production of weapons to revolve World War II.
Molecular Studies in Weed Science
Weeds are a tremendous problem in agriculture, costing farmers billions a year in crop loss and the cost of control.
Cattle are currently used for meat, milk, hide products and as work animals. Where did they come from? Who are the wild relatives? Dr.
Stewardship of Biotechnology Crops in Africa.
Western Africa holds many nations of substantial population and an emerging economies. The nation has recently approved the use of the Bt cowpea to farm without applied insecticide, and with the new technology comes the need to ensure that it is used correctly.
Apples to Oranges: Abuse of Meta Analysis
The meta-analysis is traditionally considered to be a high synthesis of extant scientific literature.
Special Topics in COVID19
In this special edition of the Talking Bitotech Podcast Dr. Kevin Folta covers recent topics in COVID19.
The Molecular and Cellular Basis of Grafting
Grafting is an age-old practice of connecting a set of roots to an aerial portion of a separate plant.
A Deeper Dive into COVID-19
As of 3/11/2020 COVID-19 is emerging as a significant health threat worldwide. This pandemic is on the rise, and public health suffers from politicized spin, misinformation, and a lack of good information.
A Universal Flu Vaccine
Seasonal influenza causes thousands of deaths annually. Part of the problem is that the vaccine must be administered annually because the virus presents different immunological faces to avoid detection.
Improved Oils from Plants with GE
Plants produce a variety of oils, many that are critical to the human diet. The precise chemical qualities of plant oils dictate its stability, use, nutrient quality, or even its use as fuel.
The gene editing explosion has accelerated discovery, food and therapies by defining a new toolbox of useful ways to manipulate DNA.
Remembering Dr. Chad Finn; Intro to the Global Gene Editing Tracker
In the first part of today’s podcast Dr. Kayleen Schreiber and Jon Entine discuss the latest addition to the Genetic Literacy Project, a website called the Global Gene Editing Regulation Tracker.
Fake News Survivor, and Coronavirus Update
Dr. Ilaria Capua is an internationally recognized virologist, and a world expert in avian influenza and other animal viruses.
Opportunities with American Society of Plant Biologists
The American Society of Plant Biologists is the largest professional society for plant biologists. Dr.
Women in Genomics
Like many areas of science, the early days of genomics quickly became a male-dominated discipline. While more women were earning advanced degrees and training in this area, fewer were finding a place in faculty and other leadership positions.
Cassava Innovation in Africa
Cassava is a staple food crop in Africa and Asia, yet is widely unknown by the industrialized world. While almost a billion people depend on this crop, production is limited by a series of diseases, and it also lacks critical nutrients that could help reverse local deficiencies.
Talking Biotech Hiatus
I’ve dreaded this day. I have not missed a Saturday in a long time, but after told to end the series by my institution I have not been able to find someone that can do the work to host the podcast on a weekly basis.
Biotech Cotton Comes to Kenya
Kenya is an emerging economy and has significant investment in advanced technologies. However, a 2013 ban on biotech crops has limited farmer access to the most needed technologies for the field.
International Biotechnology, Policy and Future
Dr. Stuart Smyth is no stranger to anyone that has watched social media. As a leading ag economist he has consistently represented science and technology fairly and accurately, and tethered to his prolific publication of books and scholarly publication, he is a visible influencer in scientific and social media circles.
An Engineered Cowpea for Africa
The cowpea is a high-protein food staple in parts of Africa, particularly in the growing countries of Nigeria, Niger, and Burkina-Fasso.
There is a massive amount of human genomic DNA sequence data, and it is now possible to identify correlates with specific disease, drug sensitivity and physiological variation.
Bacteria Fixing Nitrogen in Plants
Nitrogen is essential for crop growth. That reality has led to intensive crop fertilization using nitrogen fixed through the Haber-Bosch process, which has energy costs in production and transport.
The GE Crop Ban in South Australia
While the country of Australia has been growing genetically-engineered crops for over 15 years, the state of South Australia has banned their use.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
The genomics era has generated tremendous data sets, yet the information they reveal is limited by the human biases that search them.
Egg Production and GE Ethics
There is an unfortunate side to egg production. Only female chickens produce eggs, so layers are selected at hatching.
Michele Payn is a much sought after speaker, author and podcast host. She has introduced the third book in her trilogy, this one about the phenomenon of others taking issue with someone’s food choices.
CAR-T Cells: Engineered to Attack Cancer
Can we use genetic engineering to help the body’s immune system target cancer cells? This is exactly what happens with CAR-T (chimeric antigen receptor) T-cell therapy.
Impossible Burgers and Biotechnology
The Impossible Burger is meat alternative that gets its meat-like qualities from a combination of plant-based ingredients, plus “meatiness” from a biotech-derived product.
Edible Cotton Seed
Cotton production is massive, but mostly used for fiber. The cotton seed is a tremendous potential resource as it contains high amounts of oil and high-quality protein.
Farm Aid: Anti Biotech and Farmer Choice?
The Farm Babe Michelle Miller is a farmer, speaker, columnist and blogger that advocates for agricultural producers, and seeks to better connect consumers to agricultural reality.
Engineered Microbes to Fix Nitrogen
Nitrogen is a reality of growing plants, and must be supplied to maximize crop yields. At the same time our atmosphere is >70% nitrogen that is not usable by plants in its atmospheric form.
The Ugly Politics of Glyphosate Litigation
Dr. David Zaruk has become the foremost authority on the questionable practices within the IARC and their decision-making process.
Mosquito Biotech Solutions – Getting the Story Straight
The tiny mosquito is a nuisance in the industrialized world, yet around the world it is a ruthless killer, spreading blood-borne diseases that bring about pain and suffering, particularly in developing nations.
Plagiarism and Image Manipulation in Scientific Pubilcation
Dr. Elisabeth Bik is a hero. Classically trained with plenty of lab-bench expertise, today she patrols the best scientific literature in search for plagiarism and image manipulation.
An HIV Preventative in GE Rice
While HIV incidence has remained stable in the industrialized world, the virus is still transmitted in the Developing World.
Supporting Farmer Choice in South Australia
Australia has welcomed the use of genetically engineered crops, and farmers have found particular benefit from broad acre canola and cotton cultivation.
A Bioengineered Hangover Helper?
Genetically engineered microbes commonly manufacture our vitamins and amino acid supplements, but can they be supplements themselves? Zbiotics has developed genetically engineered bacteria that may help to metabolize the residues of alcohol consumption, altering the accumulation of the compounds that lead to next-day malaise.
Food 5.0 -How We Feed the Future
Robert Saik is an agronomist and entrepreneur with a lifetime of experience in farming. For years he has been a leading advocate for farmers, and a passionate voice promoting the newest technologies, whether they are genetic or engineering marvels on the farm.
Gene Editing and Sickle Cell Disease
Sickle cell disease is an inherited condition that predominantly affects people of African descent. The disease results in chronic pain and early death, and is caused by a misfolding of oxygen-toting hemoglobin, a central protein in red blood cells.
Nano Bar Codes and Product Fidelity
Products move from producer to consumer through complicated networks called supply chains. These routes of custody involve many people and organizations, and oftentimes cross international borders.
Citrus Greening Disease Update
What is the current state of the devastating citrus greening disease, Huanglongbing (HLB). Dr. Jude Grosser from the University of Florida Citrus Research and Education Center discusses the current state of the disease, the current therapies and the future possibilities of leveraging genetics and nutrition to help keep citrus in production.
Immunotherapies Against HIV
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the causal agent of the spectrum of disorders known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
Bt Brinjal in Bangladesh
Bangladesh is a population dense country with relatively little farmland. Subsistence farmers make a living by growing, harvesting and selling brinjal, or the fruit westerners know as the eggplant.
Countering Disinformation in Africa
The African continent is emerging in many ways, yet still is developing economically. Technology is a huge part of the African transformation, yet farmers there are often forbidden to use crop technologies that were developed for Africa, by African scientists and governments.
Domesticating Bacteria for Industrial Production
Bacteria surround us and have specialized functions in adaptation and metabolism. Could they be helpful as micro machines that catalyze key reactions? Could teams of collaborating bacteria be combined to perform important industrial processes? Dr.
Curing PRRS with Gene Editing
Pork production worldwide is limited by a series of viral pig diseases that slow growth, cause illness and restrict reproduction.
Indian Farmers Protest for Technology Access
While Indian farmers have realized benefits from GE cotton, food crops have been forbidden from this growing country.
Glyphosate: The Murder of a Molecule
The war against agricultural biotechnology shifted in the last several years. Carefully constructed steps by those opposed to technology have managed to malign a relatively innocuous compound– the herbicide glyphosate.
Dinosaurs, DNA and De-Extinction
The visions of Jurassic Park are an extrapolation of actual research being performed all over the world.
The Future of Fruit and Vegetable Production
Technology is exploding in all areas of life, but sadly has been slow to reach agriculture. We are stuck in the rhythms of old unsustainable practices.
African Biotechnology Update
There is sad irony that the African continent has the most potential benefit from crop biotechnology, yet has the least access to the technology.
Blackberry Domestication and Breeding
Blackberries are a popular, healthy fruit with increasing availability to the consumer. Over the last century significant progress has been made in its genetic improvement.
A Potential Cure for Citrus Greening Disease
Huanglongbing, or HLB, is the Chinese term for the Yellow Dragon Disease– usually referred to as Citrus Greening.
Psychophysics, Smell and Taste / Women in Science
Dr. Linda Bartoshuk has been recognized as an expert on interactions between the smell, taste, psychology and the brain for many decades.
Banned But Doing It Anyway!
I was very excited to be participating in the Southern Seed School here in Gainesville, FL. I had talks prepared on three cool topics– the history of the University of Florida plant breeding programs, plant breeding and genetic improvement, and new crops for Florida.
Insect Resistant Cowpea in Africa
Cowpea is a critical crop in Western Africa. It is consumed by millions daily, but also feeds livestock, all the while providing important nitrogen fixation for the farm.
A Synthetic Light Switch Increases Photosynthesis
One of the limiting factors in photosynthesis is the plant’s ability to take up carbon dioxide to assimilate into carbohydrates.
Sleep: A Time for DNA Repair
Sleep remains a mystery to science, as it is a state where an organism is vulnerable to potentially deadly forces.
Genetic Engineering and Healthier Soybean Oils
Soybeans are legumes that produce abundant oil. The oils have been popular for consumers and in food service, but they could have improved performance in cooking applications and also did not have the heart-healthy profiles of other plant-derived oils.
A GE Salmon Comes to Market
The transgenic, fast-growing salmon was first developed in 1989. The goal was simple, use fish genes to remove seasonal growth effects, with the hopes of creating a fish that could grow faster.
The Angry Chef- Food, Fat and Fads
Anthony Warner is known as The Angry Chef, achieving notoriety as a food-fad/social critic. He has roots in biochemistry and trained as a chef, with years of experience in a variety of cooking venues.
Early Career Scientists – Research and Communication
Today’s graduate students understand that participation in science communication can significantly enhance a scientific career.
Plants Engineered to Remediate Military Toxins
Military preparedness means testing ammunition and ordinates in controlled field trials, as well as decommissioning of obsolete weaponry.
A Cancer Epidemiologist Discusses Glyphosate Claims
The report saturated the popular media, claims that the herbicide glyphosate increased cancer risk by 41%.
Ethos Chocolate – Ingredients from GE Plants
In the days of fear-based food labeling the market has been screaming for a science-friendly alternative.
The AAAS Glyphosate Award Controversy
This week the American Association for the Advancement of Science announced an award to two Sri Lankan researchers for their research showing that glyphosate was a “deadly herbicide” that was causing kidney disease in farmers.
Bees Delivering Pesticides
The relationship between pollinators and crop protection strategies has always pitted them against each other, with concern about how insecticides and herbicides might affect charismatic non-target insects like bees.
Genetically Engineered Animals- Regulated as Drugs
The new techniques in gene editing have made rapid, precise genetic changes possible in animals. Some of the greatest benefits are genetic resistance to disease, generation of less waste, and more rapid growth on the farm.
What We Know vs. What We Think We Know
Researchers and communicators in biotechnology have experienced it for a long time– the people that oppose genetic engineering frequently know the least about it.
Help Researchers Save Threatened Forests
Our forests are critical to ecology. They sequester carbon from human activity, and serve as great resources for renewable building materials, fuels and recreation.
Engineering Indoor Air Cleaning Plants
Indoor air is filled with hazardous trace compounds that arise from flooring, furniture, and even showering.
Two Critical Updates – Brinjals and Chestnuts
This week’s podcast features and update on two critical technologies– the Bt Brinjal (eggplant) in Bangladesh and the blight resistant American Chestnut.
Evolution of Weed Resistance
Weed resistance is a complex problem with incredible ramifications for agricultural production. It also provides an outstanding opportunity to examine how resistance happens– is it continual development of new mutations, new mutations in the same genes, or is it simply spread of already resistant material? Genome sequencing and comparative genomics indicates that it is all of the above.
Brockovich’s Deceptive Guardian Article
On December 6, 2018 environmental advocate Erin Brockovich published a high-profile opinion piece in The Guardian.
Biotechnology Outreach and Extension
Dr. Thomas Zinnen has worked with the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service for almost three decades.
Thoughtful Questions from a Listener
Gary Nolan works in marketing, but enjoys science podcasts, including Talking Biotech. He also frequently blogs about politics, social trends, and science.
Careers in Plant Breeding
Plant breeding is an important discipline, and the foundation of plant genetic improvements. While modern techniques like gene editing sometimes steal the spotlight, the foundational varieties must have outstanding performance before such amendments are remotely relevant.
Conflict of Interest
The term “Conflict of Interest” is thrown around a lot these days, mostly to sully reputations or cast doubt on quality research.
Supporting Farmers, Fighting “Non-GMO”
They are farmers. They also own A&C Liquid Assets, a liquor store in Hoxie, Kansas. Allison and Cole Nondorf saw the Smirnoff commercial where they proudly proclaim that they reject “GMO” seed technology, the same seeds that the Nondorf’s (and most of their community) use on their farms.
A Look Into the Future of Technology
The future gets closer every day, and many argue that technology will radically change the world for the better in the next 20 years– if we have the courage to let it.
Solving the Animal Feed Problem
What do we use to feed our food? From cattle to fish, livestock require substantial inputs to thrive, and a substantial part of that is their feed.
Mango Domestication and Diversity
The mango is an incredibly important fruit worldwide, yet little is known about its precise origins or domestication.
Listener Questions; LaCroix Water Lawsuit
Today’s episode is where Kevin Folta answers common questions from listeners. In the second half, we discuss the recent lawsuit against LaCroix and the alleged insecticides used as ingredients.
Nitrogen Fixing and Corn
Nitrogen is required for plant growth, and is a significant input in terms of cost and environmental impact.
Thalidomide- Molecular Mechanism of Action
The drug thalidomide was developed with tremendous promise in managing a variety of disorders, such as anxiety and morning sickness.
Vanilla Uses, Diversity and Improvement
There is a vanilla crisis. The familiar flavor agent is a mixture of chemicals from an orchid- and there’s not enough being produced to satisfy demand.
Effectiviolgy – Sharpening Critical Thinking Skills
In framing effective discussions about any subject it is important to understand human psychology, and the mistakes we make in debate.
Glyphosate Trends in Agriculture
The herbicide glyphosate has been in use for over 40 years. It is non-selective (kills all plants), it is inexpensive and has extremely low toxicity.
Transparency vs. Confidentiality
This last week podcast host Kevin Folta found himself in a difficult predicament. There was palpable outrage by those affiliated with a science website where he participated in some of their activities.
Malaria, Artemisia and Artemisinin
Malaria is a tremendous world health problem, affecting the lives of hundreds of millions of people in the developing (and industrialized) world.
The chicken is by far the most abundant animal farmed on earth, grown for meat and eggs. But where did it come from? What kinds of birds were domesticated? When? Where? What were the traits that came from wild jungle fowl that give us today’s familiar bird? These questions and more are answered by Dr.
Plant Disease Networks
Plant disease resistance is a complicated arms race between the plant and pathogens. Bacteria, viruses and fungi evolve in lock-step with plants, creating new ways to overcome new disease resistance strategies.
Psychology, Consumers and Decisions
Dr. David Just studies human behavior and how psychology ties in with economic decisions. His work at Cornell examines the interesting overlays that cause consumers to behave how they do.
Aflatoxin, Problems and Solutions
Alfatoxins are a significant threat to human health and world food security. They are naturally-occurring toxic compounds produced by the fungus Aspergillus flavus and other species.
The Orange-Fleshed Sweet Potato in Africa
The 2016 World Food Prize went to a group that coordinated the breeding, promotion and distribution of the orange-fleshed sweet potato in Africa.
Barley Domestication and Breeding
Barley is an important grain, with prominent roles as the foundation of bread and beer. Dr. Sheila Adimargono shares the interesting stories around barley’s history, the traits that early domesticators found useful, and information about its modern production.
Russia’s GMO Disinformation Campaign
When social scientists examined messaging in new media around GE crops, a few trends became apparent.
Seeds of Science
Mark Lynas believed in his heart that he was doing the right thing. He was joining others in tearing out field trials of GE crops, and effectively arrested research and development around crop biotechnology.
Recognizing Dr. Rosalind Franklin
The race to determine the structure of DNA has a dark subtext that is frequently ignored when discussing this seminal discovery in biology.
Maize, Mexico, and Transgene Flow
Mexico is the center of origin for maize, and there is a substantial interest in protecting the genetic integrity of this limited resource.
Modern Wheat and Celiac Disease
The internet claims that the increases in celiac disease is rooted in modern wheat varieties, as human intervention in plant genetics must be the cause of human disorders.
Are food labels adding clarity or confusion? Focus groups show that consumer sentiment toward food labels is changing.
Engineering Plant Virus Resistance
Dr. Devang Mehta has been working in virus suppression in cassava, a key food staple in the Developing world.
Biotech, Farming and the Developing World
Those that live in the affluent countries of the West have little clue of the challenges of farming in the Developing World.
An Extension Agronomist’s View of GE Crops
The Extension arm of the Land Grant University system provides a link between university research and the farm.
Indian Suicides and Farmer Debt
The problem of farmer suicides in India is very real, and has been for some time. Suicides are driven by indebtedness, and there are many reasons that farmers find themselves in financially challenging times.
Engineering Functional Foods for Human Health
Dr. Monica Schmidt from the University of Arizona has an interest in using technology to make foods that are better for people.
Transgenic Plants and Industrial Protein Production
Many important enzymes, industrial and therapeutic proteins are manufactured using transgenic plants.
Rice Domestication and Diversity
Rice is a world food staple with an incredible story. Dr. Susan McCouch from Cornell University has been studying rice genetics for decades, and directs efforts in rice education in conjunction with the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines.
Insect Gene Drives (Part 2)
Dr. Jennifer Kuzma received her training in biochemistry, and then later found herself working in social sciences.
Insect Gene Drives (Part 1)
Gene drives are a powerful technology that may be used to control pests. The concepts key off of exploiting genetic vulnerabilities that are rapidly inherited, and cause populations to crash over a short time.
Pandora’s Picnic Basket; Talking to the Public
Over the long history of biotech crops and microorganisms Dr. Alan McHughen has been part of the conversation.
USAID, Political Stability and Food Security
Dr. Angela Records joins Chris Barbey to discuss the mission of USAID. USAID is committed to remedies in world food insecurity, with an emphasis on examining current opportunities and meshing new technology and crop biology with the most benficial impacts in global food security.
Why Sweet Corn is Sweet
When we think about corn, we usually think about sweet corn. It is a departure from its cousins that are grown on the vast majority of the acreage, the corn bred for use as animal feed and fuel.
Farm Babe Michelle Miller
Michelle Miller grew up in Wisconsin and always had an interest in agriculture. When she reached college she traded in rural life for the big city, working in LA at designer stores and living a big city life.
Disease Resistant Bananas
The Cavendish banana is the standard banana of commerce, yet it is under threat by a devastating disease that is spreading quickly around the world.
Fighting the Fall Army Worm
The Fall Army Worm is a moth larvae that is incredibly destructive. It causes widespread crop losses in the Americas and now has been found in Africa.
GMOs in Milk, Meat and Eggs? / Edited Animals
Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam is arguably the most effective voice in communication about biotechnology, especially in animals.
Know Ideas Media, Nick Saik
When we talk about food and farming, Nick Saik has been excited to tell the story through the camera lens.
Pet Vaccines and Pet Foods
Other areas swimming in myth and misinformation involve our pets. Domesticated animals are part of our lives, and therefore are frequent subjects of marketing shams and dangerous trends.
Haskap Berries; A Lifetime in Plant Breeding
Dr. Maxine Thompson is a trailblazer. With her education and profound interest in plant breeding, she defied a male-dominated establishment and became a plant breeder at a major university.
Early Plant Transformation; All Creatures Podcast
Dr. Ray Shillito is a scientist that spent the early part of his career in plant transformation, attempting novel approaches in the early 1980’s.
Review, 2018 Directions
In 2017 we recorded 53 new episodes, including guest hosts and a great range of outstanding guests. 2018 has some interesting new edges.
Control of Aflatoxin in Groundnut
Groundnut, or peanut, is a major food staple and excellent protein source in many parts of the world.
The Tragic Story of Nikolai Vavilov / Science Moms Documentary
Nikolai Vavilov was a Russian scientist in the early 1900’s. He was known for his characterization of plants, understanding crop domestication, and the centers of origin for many species.
BONUS TRACK: Dicamba Situation
Podcast 112 was a discussion of the dicamba situation. Since that episode was recorded I attended a conference from the North Central Weed Science Society in St.
The Dicamba Situation
Over the last two years we have heard reports of herbicide damage to Midwestern crops, bearing the signatures of damage from dicamba.
Seed Company Consolidation
Over the last century there was an incredible rise in the number of seed companies, driven primarily by the profitability of hybrid seeds in regional markets.
Gene Therapies in Pets
The promises of gene therapy have been slow to reach the public for many reasons. Technologies conceived in the 1980’s had a substantial regulatory and proof-of-concept road ahead of them, leading to slow development and deployment.
Plant Parasitic Nematodes in Africa
In this week’s podcast Dr. Jonnny Dalzell guest hosts from Tanzania. He visits with scientists from IITA that are helping devise solutions to nematodes.
Gene Editing with TALEN
Gene editing has been the center of attention, affecting everything from plants, to mushrooms, to livestock, to human medicine.
Biotechnology in Bolivia
Bolivia shares farming similarities with other South American countries. They have diverse land races and native crops that they wish to preserve.
Food Security, Biotech, NGOs and Africa
In today’s podcast we speak with science journalist and author Mark Lynas. Mark has been a central figure in the discussion of biotechnology, particularly in regard to its role in ensuring food security in the Developing World.
Biotech and Ugandan Food Security
Uganda is at an interesting precipice. They have invested in biotech solutions to solve problems in their central food staples, namely the matooke.
Postharvest Solutions in Food Security
Simple solutions can sometimes have tremendous impacts. In this episode Bret Rierson from the World Food Programme discusses a solution to enhancing food security in Africa and around the world.
RNAi Crop Protection Strategies
The evolution of weed and insect resistance to traditional controls has brought about the need for new approaches in crop protection.
Restoring the American Chestnut
The American Chestnut dominated the Appalachian landscape, ranging from Georgia all the way to Maine.
Genetically Engineered Diamondback Moth
The diamondback moth is a formidable agricultural pest, causing tremendous losses on farms and requiring significant cultural and chemical-based management on both conventional and organic farms.
Kevin Folta’s Research and SciComm
Any podcast’s 100th episode is reason to celebrate. In Talking Biotech’s 100th episode Chris Barbey interviews its originator, Dr.
Glyphosate and Human Health
The herbicide glyphosate has been used for over 40 years and is a relatively safe and effective method to control weeds on the farm, in municipal areas and around the home.
Domestication and Radiation of Cats
Modern cats are a lot like their wild counterparts, with specific traits that were gained through domestication.
Environmental and Economic Impacts of Biotech Crops
The annual report by agricultural economists Brookes and Barfoot is a helpful resource to understand the impacts of agricultural biotechnology.
Biotech Regulatory Affairs
Regulation of new technology in food crops is important for many reasons. It is critical to ensure safety, but a robust regulatory system also shapes consumer sentiment.
Imaging Animal Behavior / Targeted for Your Science
Understanding animal stress is important for many reasons. If we know how the animal brain responds to change it helps us understand habitat destruction and climate effects on population dynamics, and can provide important information about human impacts, adaptation, and animal conservation.
Bioactive Small RNAs (and the cool paper that wasn’t)
Back in 2012 a paper rocked the scientific community. The claim was that small RNA molecules in dietary plant products could escape digestion, move through the bloodstream, and cause regulatory changes in animal physiology.
Ben and Jerry’s Roundup
A story exploded in the New York Times claiming that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and a potent herbicide, was detected in 10/11 flavors of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
Abiotic Stress Resistance in Soybean/Regulation Consequences
Dr. Sabina Vidal is a professor at the National Republic University in Uruguay. Her lab is interested in the genetic improvement of soybean, especially in response to abiotic stress.
Early Molecular Biology / Nobel Laureates’ Social Mobilization
Today’s genomics explosion has foundations in seminal discoveries in molecular biology almost 50 years ago.
Collateral Neonic Impacts
Neonicotinoids (neonics) are a class of insecticides based on natural plant compounds that disrupt the insect nervous system.
de novo Domestication
Domestication Dr. Lazaro Peres De novo domestication also has the potential to expand genetic diversity in crops, potentially conferring additional roles in food security.
Food Evolution, the Movie
The representation of crop biotechnology in film has been an asymmetrical assault on science and reason.
Glyphosate Risk and the IARC Decision
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, has been used as a non-selective (kills all plants) herbicide since 1970.
“Know GMO” the Movie
The documentary space is filled with disparaging films about food science, including those that target biotechnology.
Biotech, Forest Restoration and Conservation
Forests are under many threats, from new pests and pathogens, to invasive trees, to climate. The advancement of these traits by far exceeds the natural response of trees to acclimate, and outpaces the efforts to traditionally breed trees for forest conservation and restoration.
Crop Genetic Engineering- History and Outlook
While the technologies of genetic engineering are quite commonplace, it was not always the case. The scientists that blazed the trail hold tremendous history, and it is good to visit with them to understand where the technology came from and where it is going.
Controlled Environment Agriculture
In the race to feed 10 billion people by 2050 some agricultural production will shift to where people live.
GE Crop Regulation in Uruguay
Uruguay is a major producer of soy and corn from genetically engineered seeds, with over 2. 5 million acres in production.
Potatoes; Past, Present and Future
In the industrialized world the potato is defined as one of a few varieties of tuber crops. But there is tremendous diversity available to be exploited, and potato breeders are folding that into modern germplasm using a variety of methods.
Sweet Potato, Nature’s GMO
The sweet potato has special seasonal or fast-food application in the industrialized world, but in many parts of the world it is an important part of the daily diet.
Technology and Society
The issues of biotechnology benefit from examination from social scientists. There are scientists that help define the social reaction to science and the way that scientists need to communicate issues in technology.
Specialty Crops (Fruits, Veggies, & Nuts!)
What are Specialty Crops? These are the crops of the produce aisle, fruits, vegetables, nuts. These are high-value crops that receive relatively little research funding compared to other types of the big-ag crops, things like corn, wheat, sugar and soy.
The newest and most promising therapies for challenging cancers are adopting molecular-biology strategies.
This week’s podcast is an important discussion, a cautionary tale of what can happen when genetically-engineered crops are introduced to the environment.
Food Truths- Debunking Myths, Celebrating Abundance
Hormones, antibiotics, GMOs… A trip to the grocery store is a battle against fear and guilt. From marketers to activists, there is a concerted effort afoot to use fear, shame and guilt to shape consumer food choices.
Decreased Fungal Food Toxins with RNAi
Aflatoxins are trace compounds produced by certain fungi, and represent a legitimate food safety risk.
Agriculture, Butterflies and Bees
The effects of farm insect controls on butterflies and bees are important to understand. Dr. Ric Bessin is an Extension Professor from the University of Kentucky is an entomologist that has studied this relationship.
Your Questions Answered
We get lots of comments that the favorite episodes are when Kevin Folta answers your questions about food, farming, and genetic engineering.
The Farmer Voice in Social Media
How do biotech seeds affect the end user? If you listened to the “experts” they’d tell you that farmers were forced to buy seeds they didn’t want, because companies controlled their farms.
Pears; Speeding Tree Production
Pears are favorite tree fruits, yet they are limited in varieties and availability. Dr. Amit Dhingra from Washington State University explains the roots of pear domestication, its improvement, and why we see so few varieties.
Fighting Plant Viruses with RNA – and Clay!
There are no compounds that can be sprayed to fight plant viruses, so plant protection requires managing the insects that spread them.
Brassica oleracea – The Dog of the Plant World
Did you know that broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage are all the same species? Just like dogs are highly-diverse members of the same species descended from a common ancestor, the members of Brassica oleracea also share a common genetic origin.
The National Academies Report on Genetic Engineering
The National Academies of Science is one of the most respected scientific organizations on the planet, composed of well-established scientists and other scholars that perform important functions in vetting scientific claims and steering scientific agendas of a nation.
Adjusting Plant Defenses to New Pathogens
Following on last week’s episode, plants contain a family of genes called “R genes” that play important roles in resistance to disease.
Plant R Genes and their Applications
Plants contain a family of genes called “R genes” that play important roles in resistance to disease.
Communicating Effectively with Critics
When we discuss new technology with the public, there is inevitable fear and push back with at least a fraction of those we are trying to reach.
Effective Science Communication in 2017
I’ll always remember 2016 as an eclectic mix of hell and success. We learned a lot about how to engage the public and got lots of practice.
DNA Evidence and Dog Domestication
Experts agree that dogs have evolved from the gray wolf, but after that there are many questions and debates about how and why they became our prized companions.
Terminator Genes! and High School Biotech Outlook
Discussion of biotechnology risks and benefits frequently cites “terminator genes” as a reason to oppose the technology.
Toward Sustainability: A place for GE in organic production?
Dr. Mark Williams has extensive training in molecular biology. He also is interested in sustainable crop production, and leads training in organic production at University of Kentucky.
Engineering Efficiency in Photosynthesis
Increasing efficiency in photosynthesis has been one of the desired goals of plant biology. A recent paper in the journal Science presents work by a team led by Dr.
Important Clarification on the Glyphosate/Groceries Episode
At the time the discussion was 100% correct based on the methods and information provided. I have since been contacted by the laboratory that did the testing.
Glyphosate in Groceries; Hops! The Flavor of Beer
In the first part of this week’s podcast you’ll learn how to debunk a viral claim. There are repeated claims that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the weed killer Roundup, is detected in a plethora of food, beverages and body fluids.
Corn Origins and Domestication
Corn. It ultimately has a role in so much of what we eat. From a sweet corn cob on the 4th of July, to the calories that made the steak possible, to fuel in our gas tanks, to the sweetness in a soda, corn is a central player.
Teaching Biotech with Journey of a Gene
The processes of biotechnology can be a bit of a black box, and that does not help further its understanding or acceptance.
Nutrition in the First 1000 Days
Beginning at conception, a new human’s development and long-term health are critically dependent on the availablity of proper nutrition.
Peanuts; Talking to Family about GMO
The peanut is a valuable crop for American farmers and is extensively cultivated worldwide. It is an important source of protein and healthy oils.
Eggplant Origins and Diversity; Thoughts of Dr. Borlaug
The eggplant (brinjal, aubergine) is a curious fruit in western nations, but is an important staple for hundreds of millions of people worldwide.
17 Questions About Glyphosate
Talking Biotech #52 visits with Iida Ruishalme, cell biologist, author and blogger. Iida is a trained scientist that writes the blog Thoughtscapism.
Weed Killer in Vaccines?
Today’s episode is born of frustration. Fear-mongering non-experts are abusing improper interpretations from an available herbicide detection kit to make claims that herbicides are now found in vaccines.
How to Make a Plant from a Single Cell
One of the most important steps in genetic engineering a plant is the process of regenerating an entire new plant from a single cell that contains the new genetic instructions.
Watermelon Domestication, Breeding and Party Tricks; Your Questions
The dog-days of summer are a perfect match for watermelon. This podcast discusses domestication, breeding and interesting stories of where this magical fruit came from, and where it is going.
Eggplants, Brinjals and Aubergines
One of the amazing success stories of genetic engineering is the eggplant, known as the “brinjal” in Asia and the “aubergine” in Europe.
Genetic Engineering, Extension and Communication
Those of you that follow social media know Dr. Paul Vincelli. He’s a visible contributor to the discussion on genetic engineering, but also ventures into discussion of climate change.
Genetics of Depression; Women and Science
Talking Biotech Podcast #46 was a lot of fun. My co-host is the effervescent Kiona Elliott, a wonderful undergraduate student in my lab that not only is studying science, but she’s also studying how to communicate with public audiences.
Viral Threats to Coffee
Talking Biotech #45 discusses the viral threats to coffee. We’re joined by Dr. Michael Goodin, Associate Professor of Plant Pathology from the University of Kentucky.
Indian Farmers Suicides 2, Your Questions
Talking Biotech Podcast #44 continues Kavin Senapathy’s interview with Dr. Ronald Herring. Dr. Herring is a Professor of Government and International Professor of Agriculture and Rural Development at Cornell University.
Indian Farmer Suicides
In discussion of genetically engineered crops there is frequent reference to farmer suicides in India.
The National Academies Report Summary
The Seralini Rats make an appearance a the NAS Report Summary. A report on Genetically Engineered Crops was commissioned by the National Academies of Science, and a committee was convened to review the current literature.
Innovations to Fight Citrus Disease
If there was anyone that could be dubbed a science wizard, it might be Dr. Jude Grosser. Dr. Grosser has made a career of edgy innovation, creating new solutions that define the forefront of genetic improvements in citrus.
Genetic Engineering Forests
Dr. Steve Strauss is a Distinguished Professor of Forestry at Oregon State University. He has been at the forefront of forest biology and genetic engineering of trees, contributing greatly to the understanding of fundamental tree biology, as well as the development of techniques and tools to perform genetic engineering in tree species.
What a Plant Knows
It is so wonderful to share the time with Prof. Danny Chamovitz. He’s an accomplished researcher, a successful Dean, and leader in Israel’s agricultural research enterprise.
GMO Cheese; Nat’l Academies Review
Chipotle proudly serves it. The Vermont GMO labeling rules exempt it. Still 95% of cheese is manufactured from enzymes created through recombinant DNA technology.
Gene Editing Virus Resistant Pigs
The African Swine Fever Virus is a devastating pathogen that leads to fatal disease in domesticated swine.
Citrus Domestication, Breeding & Challenges
“Citrus” is a term applied to a variety of popular and nutritious fruits, including oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes.
Exploring the Unnaturally Delicious
This week the Talking Biotech Podcast shares an intriguing discussion with Dr. Jayson Lusk. Dr. Lusk is an agricultural and food economist at Oklahoma State University.
Strawberry History and Improvement; Favorite Sites
Strawberry is a popular fruit with tremendous commercial value, and while everyone loves a good strawberry, are they actually getting better? This week’s podcast talks to Dr.
A Weed Solves a Crisis
Could the lowly dandelion solve a crisis? If Key Gene CEO Dr. Arjen van Tunen and associates are correct, this yard pest may be the basis of sustainable and highly profitable rubber production.
In Search of Celiac-Safe Wheat
Dietary reactions to wheat are on the rise, and science is grasping for answers. One approach to work around the genetic basis of the reaction, and that is well understood.
Coffee Origins, Breeding and Challenges
When we think of the plants that are important to us, we might think right past the magical shrub that gives us coffee berries.
Glyphosate in Breast Milk and Wine?
Recent unpublished reports are popping up on the internet that suggest that the herbicide glyphosate is showing up at dangerous levels in a variety of places.
Banana Disease and GE Solutions
Dr. Leena Tripathi is a leader in banana biotechnology, working at IITA in Nairobi, Kenya. She has been publishing prolifically on a number of solutions for banana disease resistance using genetic engineering.
All About Bt!
If you tell a stranger that something called “delta endotoxin” is as close as it gets to a miracle, they’d likely respond in one of two ways.
Cherry Domestication and Breeding, Herbicide Beer?
Cherries are a perennial favorite fruit. However, they are a tree, so their genetic improvement is slow.
The Story of GE Papaya, Helping People Save an Industry
The story of how genetic engineering saved the Hawaiian papaya industry gets lost in the discussion of agronomic crop uses of the technology.
Beautiful GMOs and the Not-So-Dirty Dozen
In today’s Talking Biotech Podcast the first guest is Keira Havens. She’s the CEO of Revolution Bio, a company turned non-profit that is interested in using the power of plants to introduce the public to the power of genetic engineering.
Biotech & Tomato Breeding – Social Media on the Farm
Improving plants with biotechnology is not just genetic engineering, it is using tools of molecular biology and genomics to guide traditional breeding strategies.
Innovative Approaches of the Future Farm Project 2050
Several weeks ago there was a request for Talking Biotech Podcast to interview Prof Graeme Martin. Prof Martin has a long career in animal reproductive biology, and in recent times has had more focus on how to test new strategies in supporting livestock, crops and the nation’s resident biodiversity.
Cassava 2, History, Domestication; Biotech Virus Resistance
Biotech innovation in cassava is necessary to speeding genetic improvement of this food staple. Together with breeding efforts, the new resources derived define new crops that primarily serve the developing world.
Solutions for Cassava – Biofortification and Characterizing Disease Vectors
Cassava (Manihot esculentum) is a critical world food crop, the third most consumed staple outside of rice and maize.
An Experiment You can Do With Us; Sugar Beet Breeding and Biology
This eThis episode of Talking Biotech invites you to be the investigator and data collector. The internet is littered with images that claim animals will not eat GMO corn, which is curious because 80% of it goes to animal feed.
The SciBabe Talks Toxins; Your Questions Answered
Today chemophobia rules supreme. From fast-food establishments to farming critics, everyone seems to be an expert, except the experts! Talking Biotech #19 features The SciBabe, Yvette d’Entremont (@TheSciBabe).
Insecticides, Herbicides, Organic and Conventional Ag
The topic of “pesticides” is the new frontier in the opposition to agricultural biotechnology. Opponents of the technology blame new genetic improvement methods for perceived increases in chemical controls for plant, animal and fungal pests.
Biotech, Ag and Insects; Promoting Art with Science; Barbara on the Bill
This week we’re joined by Richard Levine, communications director for the Entomological Society of America.
Biotechnology in Uganda; Reflections on a Public Discussion
This week features two discussions with fellows serving in the Global Leadership Program of the Cornell Alliance for Science.
Tomatoes! Innovative Breeding and a Biotech Solution
This episode is an introduction to tomatoes, popular fruits that provide great variation to the eye and palate, as well as the foundation of many recipes.
Biotech Solution to Citrus Greening Disease; Your Questions Answered
This week’s Talking Biotech features discussion of Huanglongbing (HLB) also known as Citrus Greening Disease.
Kevin Folta — Monsanto Outreach Support, FOIA, Transparency
This week I had to address the elephant in the room. What’s up with the recent flack about Monsanto funding a science communication outreach program? What is happening with FOIA? What is the future of the Talking Biotech science communication program?.
Genetically Modified Mosquito Control – Careers in Plant Breeding
This week’s podcast discusses Kevin Folta’s public records situation for 60 seconds. That is followed by a talk with Dr.
Success or Failure? Good Study Called Bad, Bad Study Called Gold.
This week’s podcast is an important analysis of two published reports. First, the results from the famous Rothamstead wheat trial show that their transgene does not confer resistance to aphids, inconsistent with their laboratory findings.
Saving the American Chestnut; Lettuce History and Modern Improvement
This Talking Biotech Podcast features Dr. William Powell from SUNY, where he is co-Director of the American Chestnut Research and Restoration Project.
Don’t Let Dr. Oz Tell YOUR Story– Teaching the Public about Farming
Ag professionals know their businesses and on-farm practices better than anyone. However, they don’t tend to share their story in public space, allowing others (including unscrupulous hucksters and activists) to warp their reality.
Sustainable Salmon; All ‘Bout Bananas
Salmon is an outstanding food for protein, and undeniably great table fare. The AquaBounty company has produced the AquaAdvantage salmon, a fish that grows to production size in less time.
Stopping Avian Flu Spread; Potato Origins
This episode of Talking Biotech features stories of genetically engineered chickens that do not spread the avian influenza virus.
Misrepresenting Real Science; Carrots- Past and Future
Several trends are present in the anti-ag-biotech literature. First, many papers are poorly done, present opinion without data, or overstep the data accumulated.
Talking Biotech in Washington DC
This week’s Talking Biotech discusses a recent trek to Washington DC, where Kevin Folta, Chris Barbey and Alejandra Abril Guevara answered questions for the US House Science, Technology and Space Committee.
Non Browning Apples; the Story of Cotton
This week’s podcast features an interview with Neal Carter from Okanagan Specialty Fruits. His biotech megacorporation of eight employees has developed the Arctic Apple, a product where a gene central to the browning reaction has been essentially turned off.
A Life-Saving Banana for Uganda; Grape Domestication and Improvement
Dr. James Dale from the Queensland University of Technology speaks of his banana engineered with beta carotene that can soothe blindness and death in central African countries.
Engineering Hornless Cows; Blueberry Origins
This episode of Talking Biotech features Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam from the University of California at Davis.
Introduction, and Sleuth4Health Julee K
This pilot episode is an introduction to the talking biotech podcast. Special Guest, Sleuth4Health Julee K.
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