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Science City presents Frankenfood: GMO Food Technology
March 18, 2015 @ 7:30 pm - 8:30 pmFREE
Recent applications of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to improve food production have raised safety concerns about the “frankenfoods” that result. Dr. William Crosby will review the development and current status of genetic manipulation technology, including a frank assessment of both the benefits and the concerns arising from the technology as it is applied to food crops in a local, national and international context.
Mankind has been manipulating the genetic structure of food plants for at least 10,000 years. During this time, recurrent selection of plants exhibiting desirable traits such as higher yield, improved food quality, ease of harvest and disease resistance have led to significant increases in our ability to feed the planet, but at the cost of a loss of genetic diversity within the broader pool of food plant populations. More recently, man-made random mutations have been introduced to food plants and used as a source of genetic variation in large numbers of food crop development programs.
Following similar technical advances in simpler model organisms such as bacteria and yeast, and beginning in the early 1980s, scientists discovered a mechanism to introduce and stably integrate genes to plants that included genes from virtually any biological origin – a process known as transformation. A popular misconception is that such gene transfer is non-natural: it is not, since such inter-species and even ‘trans-kingdom’ gene transformation of plants occurs naturally in the wild, and is not restricted to scientific experimentation.
Dr. Crosby is an award-winning professor from the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Windsor. Before joining the faculty at Windsor, he worked at the National Research Council`s Plant Biotechnology Institute in Saskatoon. His areas of expertise include genomics and plant development. Last October, he shared a 218 thousand dollar Seeds4Hope grant from the Windsor-Essex County Cancer Centre Foundation for his research on the regulation of DNA repair.
As usual at Science Cafés, light refreshments will be served and there is no admission charge. The evening is part of a series of Science Cafés – interactive discussions of important science research for the general public – held at 7:30 PM on the third Wednesday of the month from October through June at Canada South Science City, located at 930 Marion Avenue in Windsor,
The series is part of Science City’s mission to advance the understanding and appreciation of science in the community, and it is sponsored by the Faculty of Science and the Office of Research and Innovation at the University of Windsor. For a poster and more details, visit www.cssciencecity.com or call (519)-973-3667.