Question: How does your job support modern agriculture in America?
Modern agriculture has been greatly helped with the introduction of genetically enhanced (GE) varieties containing novel traits such as herbicide tolerance and insect resistance. These traits have increased farmers’ options for control of devastating insect and weed pests and have increased the use of soil conserving practices such as no-till or minimal till farming. Farmers have widely adopted these tools in the crops where they are available.
As head of cell biology, it is my job to make sure that technology is available for putting new, value added genes into plants. I work with several different important crops (particularly cotton and soybean). I assure that we have processes in place to provide genetically enhanced plants for testing of new genes and I provide those plants. These new genes will have a significant impact on modern agriculture. Plants containing these genes will be resistant to pests currently not covered by the present day GE crops. Further, these new genes will provide new tools in the fight against resistance and allow for even more flexibility in crop management. Along with other crop practices, these new varieties will help farmers to continue to make yield and quality gains on the farm.