Pamela Ronald and Raoul Adamchak present "Organically Grown and Genetically Engineered: The Food of the Future" as part of The Long Now Foundation's Seminars About Long-term Thinking. They explore how genetic engineering can work with organic growing practices to produce food in a more sustainable way than either of them could alone.
Raoul Adamchak is the Market Garden Coordinator at the UC Davis Student Farm. The Market Garden provides experiential learning opportunities to students interested in organic agriculture. Adamchak's educational activities include programs in organic vegetable crop production, operating a CSA (community supported agriculture project), participating in farmers markets, organic green house production, vegetable variety trials, on-campus sales, equipment operation, and student-directed internships. Adamchak worked for many years as a partner in Full Belly Farm and as an inspector of organic farms, and has served as the president of the board of California Certified Organic Farmers.
He has an MS in International Agricultural Development from UC Davis. His career has been dedicated to the expansion and development of organic farming.
Stewart Brand is co-founder and president of The Long Now Foundation and co-founder of Global Business Network. He created and edited the Whole Earth Catalog (National Book Award), and co-founded the Hackers Conference and The WELL. His books include The Clock of the Long Now; How Buildings Learn; and The Media Lab. His most recent book, titled Whole Earth Discipline, is published by Viking in the US and Atlantic in the UK.
Pamela C. Ronald
Pamela Ronald is Professor of Plant Pathology at the University of California, Davis, where she studies the role that genes play in a plant's response to its environment. Her laboratory has genetically engineered rice for resistance to diseases and flooding, both of which are serious problems of rice crops in Asia and Africa.
She also serves as Vice President for the Feedstocks Division and Director of Grass Genetics at the Joint Bioenergy Institute.
Pamela Ronald, professor of plant pathology at the University of California, Davis, explains that although there is a stigma around the term, genetic engineering has been around for thousands of years.
She describes how Native Americans bred the teosinte plant into what we now know as corn.
An organism whose genome has been altered in order to favour the expression of desired physiological traits or the output of desired biological products. Genetically modified foods were first approved for human consumption in the United States in 1995. The techniques used to produce genetically modified organisms include cloning and recombinant DNA technology. The primary applications of GMOs are in the areas of agriculture and biomedical research. GMOs offer numerous benefits to society, including increased crop yields and the development of novel therapeutic agents to prevent and treat a wide range of human diseases. Concerns surrounding the use of GMOs include risks posed to human health and the generation of insecticide-resistant superbugs.
The future of food and organic agriculture does not need to included GE crops. The future of food needs to include native and heirloom seeds that have already evolved and been bred under natural conditions. There is no guarantee that inserting the genes of unrelated species will ever be safe.
Developing countries do not have the infrastructure to farm like we do in the USA. Check out these photos from a small farmer in India to see natural farming methods: http://picasaweb.google.com/rajuktitus
I do not agree that farming or agriculture needs to be difficult or rely on expensive fossil fuel or synthetic inputs to feed the world. Check out my photos on:
http://farmersforasustainablefuture.ning.com/ to see our 100% natural farming operation that relies on zero outside inputs. I do use minimal amounts of diesel fuel to make hay. That diesel fuel will be veggie oil within a couple more years.
As much as I am for having foods that can produce all the benefits mentioned in this video, I am still skeptical of GE if just for that fact that there is little federal oversight on GE intellectual property laws. Corporations like Monsanto have taken advantage of GE in the past by patenting plants that they modified and then suing innocent farmers who had Monsanto plants that pollinated onto their land. There is a documentary on Hulu (ironically titled The Future of Food) that outlines the dangers of GE or at least the dangers of placing ownership rights on something organic.
Good evening, I am Stewart Brand from the Long Now Foundation [claps].Tonight we are actually reaching a little further back, the reason the Long NowFoundation describes the long analysis in the last ten thousand years and in the next tenthousand years we are building a clock to sort of tell times in the next ten thousand years.The last ten thousand years refers to what happened ten millennia ago year ago when themost radical thing that humanity did for itself and to the planet was invent agriculture, itwas a ferocious everything changing event. The change carrying capacity for humansthat affected carrying capacity for all the other species that we have and that process hasbeen revolutionary from decade to decade and century to century and millennium to onemillennium up until this very day.One of the reasons I am particularly interested in this book that this couple has donePamela Ronald and Raoul Adamchak is that it is taking two current revolutions theorganic one and the genetic engineering one, which are usually seen as being anopposition and slamming together, which is exactly the kind of thing that farmers andgrowers and marketers have been doing for ten thousand years, its figuring out newangles, farming is hard, itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s the hardest work there is, itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s a very chancy profession, mostpeople donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t really go into farming to make money, they go into farming to make food.These guys I think have an unusually realistic handle both on the present of how foodcrops work and especially on the future, please welcome Pam and Raoul.It sounds great. Thank you Stewart for that nice introduction and thankyou Daniel and the rest of the Long Now Organizers for bringing us here and for puttingon this fabulous seminar series and thank all of you for coming out on a Tuesday night.We donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t go out on Tuesday nights in Davis that just doesnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t happen.So you may think organic farmers and geneticist represent opposite endsof the agriculture spectrum, you may even think that we donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t talk to each other but wedo and itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s not that difficult, the reason is we both have the same goal which is anecologically based farming system. Still many of our friends and family have asked us ifgenetically engineered crops are safe to eat and if they will harm our environment andmany of our scientific colleagues have asked us if organic agriculture can produceenough food to feed other worlds growing population. So this book is our response tothose questions and what we try to do in the book is give the reader a betterunderstanding of what geneticist and organic farmers actually do day to day and also todistinguish between fact and fiction on the debate on crop genetic engineering.One of the other things that organic farmers and genetic engineershave in common is that they read the whole earth catalogue thirty years ago and cameaway with the idea that there was an appropriate technology for solving problems in theworld and we still carry this idea as well as the book with us today and you know I haveliterally had this book, this catalogue since it came out and I didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t realize that I washolding on to it so I could get the editor to autograph it tonight. Okay, so that the placethat Pam and I start off with is a look at the problems of conventional agriculture andwhen you look at what kind of agriculture we have now its obvious that there are a lot ofpesticides used, there are synthetic fertilizers used and there are farming practices thatresult in a lot of soil erosion both in the US and around the world.California is a somewhat unique state because it keeps track of pesticide use and you cansee from this graph that pesticide use in California has a changed to great deal in the lastten years despite the fact that there have been a lot of efforts to reduce pesticide use andthere have been a few changes there are some less toxic pesticides being used and somemore toxic ones have been banned but this also considerably less farm land in Californiaand there was ten years ago but still pesticide use continues and the environmentalproblem with pesticides is that not only do they kill pest but they kill beneficial insects,they kill birds, they kill worms, they kill beneficial microbs that are on leaf surfaces andin the soil and in California of course we have a rigorous pesticides safety system andpesticide applicators were trained on how to use and apply materials safely althoughnevertheless each year there are a thousand or so pesticide related poisonings inCalifornia, but in the rest of the world there arenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t these safety programs, here is aPeruvian potato farmer without gloves, without a respirator, he is applying pesticides, itsclear that in the rest of the world there are an estimated three million cases of severpesticide poisoning that result in three thousand deaths that outside of California its even a bigger problem.The other aspect of conventional agriculture is that it depends very heavily on syntheticfertilizers and synthetic fertilizers have two main problems, one synthetic nitrogen ismade from natural gas and its very energy intensive, it takes the equivalent of thirtygallons, the energy equivalent of thirty gallons of gasoline to make the amount ofnitrogen it takes to plant a field of corn in the Mid West, if you look at that globally onepercent of energy in the world is used to make synthetic nitrogen and as far as the plantsgrow, the plants like synthetic nitrogen because its readily available to be taken up by theplant to be used to grow but the downside is because its so soluble it leaches out of thefield and to give you a sense of how much leaches out the nitrogen use efficiency forplants is about fifty percent so fifty percent is taken up by the plant and fifty percent goesinto groundwater, surface water or into the air. When it goes into surface water it causesalgae to bloom and when the algae die bacteria break it down and when the bacteria dodo this they take all the oxygen out of the water so here is a slide of the Gulf of Mexicothink thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s an oil platform in the background. This is a slide of the Gulf of Mexicowhere on one side you have basically a dead zone that lack oxygen, nothing can live thereand on the other side you have the living Gulf of Mexico.The site at the Gulf of Mexico is often sixty five hundred square miles that forms eachyear from the agricultural runoff from you know Iowa and Kansas and Ohio and all thoseMid Western states, but its only one of two hundred and fifty of these sites that are in theUS, you know the Chesapeake Bay has problems and other waterways around thecountry. This is a satellite photo of that dead zone that forms and you can see the extentof it as it comes out of the mount of the Mississippi. And if you think that world fertilizeruse is going down actually its still growing up and this little blip at the top of Russia thatwas the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia is now using as much fertilizer as they wereand you can see that its not only a problem in the US, itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s a problem worldwide Asia isusing a tremendous amount of synthetic fertilizers as well as the US and Russia and Europe.The third tremendous problem that agriculture faces is soil erosion, this is a map of theglobe that shows soil erosion from around the world and the dark orange spots are thevery degraded soil areas because of soil erosion thirty percent of the worlds arable landhas become unproductive and when soil erodes you know it just ends up in rivers andstreams and lakes and all the nutrients and all the pesticides in the soil also end up inrivers and streams and lakes and if you like a close up look of what ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ of soil erosion thisis farmland in Iowa and the conventional farming practices is to leave the ground bareuntil the crop is planted so you get a lot of rain when the ground is bare and it just runsoff. Its estimated that as a result of erosion global crop land shrinks by more than tenmillion hectors each year and I have seen other estimates that are as high as twentymillion hectors each year so itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s a ongoing and continuing problem, the recent estimateon soil erosion in the US is that one point eight billion tons of soil are lost from US soilseach year, the number in China is four point five billion tons, so the situation is actuallyworse in other parts of the world than it is here.So what's the future of agriculture if we continue with these farming practices, what areour children going to inherit from us, what sort of situation are they going to face in thenext fifty to eighty years. Well, if we continue farming the way we are now there isgoing to be more polluted environments, there is going to be a less wild lands because weare going to need more croplands to produce more food and there is going to be globalconflict because if people arenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t fed then itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s when ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ most common causes for unrest inthe world. So starting from this point of these very serious problems, Pam and Ideveloped some criteria for a more sustainable agriculture and obviously we want toprovide abundant safe and nutritious food because thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s what the world needs. Clearlywe want to reduce harmful environmental inputs, pesticides and fertilizers, we want toreduce energy use in greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture because the globalwarming and the agricultural problems are just as great as the global warming problemand they are also tied together. We want a system that reduces soil erosion but also fastto a soil fertility, the US right now is eroding soil ten times faster then its being producedor made and in China they are eroding soil forty times faster then its being produced sowe need to reduce that trend, its very important to enhance crop genetic diversity, one ofthe greatest losses of crop was in 1972 The Southern Corn Leaf Blight where sevenhundred and ten million bushels of corn was lost to a disease because the geneticdiversity of the corn crop was so narrow that the disease caused tremendous problem.ItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s also critical to maintain the economic viability of farmers in real community becausewithout farmers there is just not going to be enough food. We want to protect by ourdiversity to provide the habitat for beneficial insects and birds and we want to improvethe lives of the poor and malnourished around the world one because itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s ourresponsibility to do so and two because it will help reduce global conflicts.So organic agriculture started out as a response to these sorts of problems and until theyear 2000 organic agriculture was defined by a number of certifiers in the US forty fouror so and then in the year 2000 the USDA came up with National Organic Standards thatdefined how organic agriculture was to be implemented in this country and I will tell youright now just to get ahead of things that genetic engineering of plants was prohibited bythe National Organic Standards. So this is my farm at UC Davis and its an organic farmand organic farming is really based on the idea of health, health of the crop, health of theplants, health of the soil, health of the farmer, health of the consumer and its ecologicallybased farming system. One of the reasons that organic agriculture reduces pesticide useis because it uses completely different strategies, it instead of using toxic materials tocontrol pests, organic farmers use crop rotation, they enhance beneficial insects, they useresistant varieties and they use some naturally occurring pesticides but overall organicagriculture uses ninety percent fewer pesticides than conventional systems so in this slideyou can see that we have a lot of crop diversity in a small space and that helps tominimize the impact of pests.The other aspect of organic agriculture thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s important is that we have another way offertilizing aside from soluble fertilizers, this is a slide of our compost turner, turning thecompost pile at the farm and while presently compost is a defined by the USDAOrganic Standards as being a material that is turned five times in fifteen days and reachestemperatures between a hundred and thirty and a hundred and seventy. The point of thatis mostly to manage human pathogens but composed on the farm is intended to providenutrients like NPK and a lot of micronutrients but also to provide organic matter for thesoil that helps reduce erosion and provides a microorganism community that helps tosuppress diseases in other pests. The other way that organic farmers provide in thisparticularly nitrogen for the crops is to the use of cover crops this is our, this is a fieldwhere we planted vetch and bell beans last fall and this crop grew and through the use oflegumes which have a symbiotic relationship with a Rhizobium bacteria thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s able to fixnitrogen out of the air and bring it in to the plant, when we turn this crop in it fixes theequivalent of a hundred and fifty pounds of nitrogen per acre.Now that the two edge sword about organic fertilizer is one hand is organic nitrogensources cover crops and composed are much less soluble than synthetic nitrogen, in factalthough that cover crop fixed a hundred and fifty pounds per acre only about twentypercent of that is available in the first year because the nitrogen needs to be broken downthe organic nitrogen needs to be broken down by microbes in order to be made availablefor plants and itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s the same for the composed so itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s a two edge sword, its not a solublebut there is also less nitrogen thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s immediately available to the plant. So you might askif organic agriculture has solved all those problems, solved the problems of erosion andnitrogen use and pesticide use is it enough you know is that, has that solved the problemenough that we can look to the future and say well we just want to use organicagriculture. Well there are a few issues that make that more challenging one is that thereare some pests, diseases and stresses that are difficult to address using organic methods,there are viruses that are very hard to control, we have this little pest on the farm calledsymphylans which like high organic matter environments and they eat the roots of mostcrops and there really isnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t a control these days, an organic control for symphylans.There are also environmental stresses like droughts and flooding and salty soils and coldthat limit yield and suppress the yield throughout the world in different environments.The other challenge is that today about three point five percent of US agriculture isorganic that leaves ninety six point five percent that needs to be changed and based on therate of change in the last twenty years its going to be ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ it would be a while beforeeveryone transition to organic and it would ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ I am not sure its going happen soon enough.The other problem is that if you look at yield of organic farms there have been numerousstudies comparing organic and conventional and its actually a challenging thing to do butif you look at these studies the yield of organic crops ranges from forty five percent toninety seven percent or even more of conventional systems and as an organic farmer andfarm inspector I have seen a lot of crop fields, organic crop fields and you know most ofthe time I think that the yields are very comparable, there are some very good organicfarmers and they do a very good job but there are two well I have also seen some cropslike organic rice where due to the weed problems the yields are regularly fifty to eightypercent of conventional rice and you know thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s a serious crop loss there.The other issue if trends continue like they are now is that organic food is significantlymore expensive then conventional food and it may cause a lot of problems for lowincome consumers both here and throughout the world if prices remain that high. Buteven if we could fine tuned organic agriculture so it could have the same yield asconventional agriculture, there is still a big problem and that problem is its that thepopulation on earth is still going up, its estimated by 2050 that there is going to be almostthree billion more people on earth so we need to have an agriculture system thatessentially on the same amount of land or even less land if it continues to be degraded,we have to produce much more food and its true that if we became, all becamevegetarians that a lot of the corn and soybeans that are grown in the US could be used forother purposes but its, this is concerting I guess to me that if you look around the worldand you look at India and China for example as they become more affluent they want toeat more meat and it seems like the demands on the food supply are going to beincreasing greatly in the next fifty years. But even today in 2008 they were food riots thisyear in Haiti, there were food riots in Bangladesh and the UN you know views potentialfood crisis as something thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s going to threaten the security of the world. So is theremore land that could be farmed, this is a hillside in Ecuador thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s being farmed and as acentral valley California farmer I would have said that wow thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s not land that you couldfarm but there you go people are farming it and if we ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ without additional yield increasesmaintaining just what we eat now would necessitate a doubling of the worlds crop areaby 2050 that land doesnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t exist. We need to increase our yields on our existing crop land.One of the other ingredients of agriculture of course is water and we havenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t been usingwater in a very sustainable way. This is a graph that shows the freshwater availability perhead of world population and you can see that since 1950 [off the mike comments], since1950 the availability of water per head has decreased four fold so there is ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ and as thepopulation continues to increase there is less and less water available, in the US andaround the world there have been underground aquifers you can call it fossil water thathave been tapped into for the past fifty or so years and that water isnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t replaced and so themost famous one here in the US is the Ogallala Aquifer and the water level there has justbeen dropping and dropping and dropping at some point its just not going to be availableto be used. But if you look at how water is used in the world sixty seven percent of it isused in agriculture and so there is not much more water that we are going to be able toaccess to farm more land, we have to live with what we have and its possible that withglobal warming that water is a declining resource and even though the demand for it isgoing to be increasing. So given the immensity of the challenge to providing food for anincreasing number of people well maintaining the integrity of the environment we need toconsider the most appropriate modern technology thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s available in order to solve someof these problems and Pam is going to talk about modern genetic approaches that meetour criteria for a more sustainable agriculture.Thank you, thanks Raoul, so I think I will start on a point that Stewartbegan which is looking at the radical changes to our agricultural system overtimebeginning ten thousand years ago so the origin of modern wheat, modern rice and moderncorn began at estimated about four thousand to twelve thousand BC and the progenitorsof these modern varieties are in Turkey, China and Mexico. For about another eleventhousand years, twelve thousand years not a lot happened until Gregor Mendel camealong and he figured out what our ancestors were actually looking for so the importantpoint here is that the seed contains all the traits that the farmer need such as yield,drought tolerance, pest resistance, disease resistance but until Gregor Mendel discoveredthe principles of genetics it was unknown how to take advantage of scientific informationto do directive breeding, since that time there has been many scientific advances so forexample in 1900 hybrid maze production began and with vast increases in yields of mazethere have been other types of modern methods such as extra mutation breeding whichintroduces random mutations into the genome which is the collection of genes which islead to some valuable crops such as grape fruit was induced by extra mutation genesesand most of these or I would tell all these advances have been accepted by the population,however in 1993 the first genetically engineered crop was improved for commercialrelease and there has been a lot of discussion since then. Some people think that geneticengineering is just the natural next step in human domestication of crop plants, othersbelieve that itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s completely unnatural. So I want to just go back to give you an idea of thekinds of breeding that have occurred so the native Americans say thousand years agobegan with this wide progenitor modern maze shown on top called teosinte. So teosinteproduces about ten to twenty seeds per plant, you have to break open the seeds to get atthe nutrition inside with a hammer and the native Americans began the first breedingexperiments and that has evolved to today to this modern hybrid corn production whichestimates to produce about a hundred fold more seed per each plant so that means that wecan use a hundred time less land, a hundred times less water to grow the same amount of food.Here is another example these are all vegetables they are actually the same species so itjust shows you the dramatic genetic variation that conventional breeders have been ableto achieve and as you may know nothing that you eat everyday is found in nature soeverything we eat has been derived from modern genetic improvements so none of thesethings are found in nature. So I want to just give a brief definition of genetic engineeringand precision breeding they and how they are different from conventional breeding sogenetic engineering and precision breeding differ in the way that only one to few wellcharacterized genes are introduced at a time so through conventional breeding large setsof uncharacterized genes are mixed together through pollination and the breeder selectsthose variants that behave well in his or her hands.The other major difference and this is I think more where much of the concern is thatwith genetic engineering genes from any species can be introduced so you can put abacteria gene into a plant species. Precision breeding has a similar results as geneticengineering we can introduce essentially a single gene into a plant however that processuses pollination and this just shows you graphically the way scientist think about it so theyellow is one plant variety and the red is another plant variety and the colors represent allthe genes in the genome and pollination is across and on the right is the checkeredoffspring so you could see you have large sets of genes that are mixed together in theoffspring so the breeder will further carry out further selections to refine this approach.Genetic engineering precision breeding takes variety of interest usually or locally adaptedvariety favored by farmers and introduces a one to two a few genes. So those essentiallyare the differences and I want to address the very first criteria that was high or less aregenetically engineered crops safe to eat and safe for the environment.So here the science is in so there has been over a billon acres of genetically engineeredcrops planted, we know that at least for the crops that have been commercialized, I amnot talking about everything in the pipeline but those that are commercialized, those thatyou are eating today in about sixty percent of process foods contain some geneticallyengineered ingredients, you are safe, you donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t need to worry, there has not been a singlecase of adverse health or environmental impacts from any genetically engineered cropsthat have been grown over the last ten or fifteen years over greater than a billion acres.There have been numerous scientific societies that have looked at this not only in theUnited States the national academy of science but the royal society in the UnitedKingdom, the prestigious societies in India and Mexico and China and Brazil and theyvirtually all come to the same conclusion that the crops on the market now are safe to eatand that genetic engineering presents similar risk as conventional approaches of breeding,anytime you develop a new variety you are gong to have some low level risks and thereare some examples so for example there is a celery variety that was developed throughconventional breeding, the farmers loved it because it was highly resistant to an insectpest and the consumers loved it because they can buy a cheaper taste exactly the samehowever, there were a few farmer workers that developed some rashes when they werepicking the celery, so there always will be some low level of consequences but the pointhere is that its similar whether you use the process of genetic engineering to introduce thegenes or if you introduce genes through conventional approaches.Still itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s important to remember that every new variety has to be considered on a case bycase basis and we need to use the most appropriate technology sometimes the geneticallyengineered crop will be the most appropriate approach for a particular problem,sometimes not. So now I want to give you three examples to give you an idea whyscientist are so excited about this technique, so this is the cotton bollworm he is emergingfrom his egg case and this little, cute little insect here is a big problem, it attacks cottonallover the world and twenty five percent of all the insecticides used in the world are usedto control this pest. In the United States we use about fifteen insecticides to control thispest, half of those are known or possible carcinogens so this was a good target for geneticengineering. Now there was, there has been a variety of that as to resistant for this pestand it was developed through genetic engineering by introducing a protein called BT thatwas a favorite of organic farmers so organic farmers love this protein because it is nottoxic to humans, its not toxic to other animals either and its actually very specific for thisclass of insects. So this has been a, this is one of the first genetically engineering cropsthatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s been introduced and its probably the most wide spread and there was also the moststudy on this so we know that in Arizona farmers were able to achieve the same yield assame cotton yield as their neighbors who are conventional farmers however they usedhalf the amount of insecticides and in their fields they have dramatically enhanced bydiversity and thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s easy to understand because they are not spraying as many insecticidesso you can have more diversity of ants and beetles which were species of these whoaccounted in this particular study.In India an eighty percent increase in yield was observed in farmers fields and in Chinawithin the first year or so insecticides used fell by a hundred and fifty six million poundsper year so to give you an idea of how much insecticide is not being sprayed into anenvironment thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s almost equivalent to all the pesticides that we spray in Californiaevery year and researchers have found that insecticide related illnesses have dropped byseventy five percent on these farms using genetically engineered cotton. So again youthink well problem is solved but we can't simply rely on seed as Raoul I hope made clearto you farming practices are very important and we know that in some instances such asin China after seven years of growing genetically engineered cotton other types of pestthat appeared and this also is predictable because the farmers could spray and insecticideso they are getting other pests so there needs to develop other types of methods, organicmethods such as fair amount of control of these other insects and really we need tointegrate a pest management approach to take advantage of these new seeds that are being developed.The second story I wanted to tell you about is papaya so plants like humans get sick, theyget diseases, they get viral diseases and this is a picture of papaya and you can see on thetop this sort of little spots and this is a papaya infected with papaya ring spot virus whichis a devastating disease and most of the or virtually all the papaya that we get inCalifornia comes from Hawaii. In the 1950ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s the entire crop of papaya in Ohio wasdestroyed by papaya ring spot virus, the farmers who are mostly quite poor farmers,many from the Philippians there was no way to come back this disease so they moved toanother island, the entire production was moved to the island of Hawaii, however, in1992 the virus was discovered in Hawaii, by 1995 the production plummeted and wewere looking at the end of cheap papaya in California and lack of income for thesepapaya growers. But there is a hear to this story this is Dennis Gonzalez who is a localHawaiian who was trained at Cornell he was aware of this problem and it had beenpredicted for many years by plant pathologist that eventually this virus was going tomove so you are familiar with the Swine Flu pandemic these things get around so in theearly days of genetic engineering he took a snippet of a mild strain of the virus andinserted it by genetic engineering into papaya so this is similar to human immunizationsor vaccinations against polio or small pox where we are immunized with a little bit of thevirus, this was a dramatically effective approach, this shows you a filed trial in 1995 inthe center of the genetically engineered papaya and on the outside are the identicalpapaya except lacking the snippet of viral nucleic acids.So this just shows you the first arrow shows the introduction of the papaya ring spot virusyou can see this dramatic reduction in yield of papaya, in 1998 when the geneticallyengineered papaya was released to farmers it was a huge increase in production and thisjust shows two graphs which is one area in Hawaii, Puna and a larger area so I think thisis important because this is a example where genetic engineering was the appropriatetechnology to address a very serious problem there was not an organic approach to solvethis problem nor was there a conventional approach there is nothing you can spray tocontrol this virus and so now about ninety percent of the papaya is transgenic so if youget papaya for breakfast its likely transgenic papaya from Hawaii. So now my thirdexample is rice, so rice is a staple crop for the half the worlds people about twentypercent of our caloric intake is derived from rice and rice grows in virtually everycontinent except Antarctica and this shows a typical meal in Mali people cooking therice, many people get, eat rice three times a day so any improvements we can make inrice, rice yields we have a dramatic impact throughout the world so most rice farmershave very small farms and they have very little technologies so this is a field of outside ofAlexandria Egypt and here is a field in Indonesia.Twenty five percent of the worlds rice is grown in flood prone areas and here I havecircled some areas that are hardest hit and Bangladesh, Eastern India, Burma, Thailand,there are some parts of Nepal, the water rushes down from the Himalayas and you can getflash floods that are entirely unpredictable and if they completely cover the rice the ricewill die in three days sol rice likes water but it doesnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t like to be completely submergedbecause the water cuts off the oxygen, the gas exchange and the sunlight. So this is amajor problem especially because in this area there is two points, two billion riceconsumers and seventy five million of those consumers live on less than a dollar a day, soin India and Bangladesh alone farm only intensive rice enough to feed thirty millionpeople is lost every year through floods. So my colleague David Mackill at theInternational Rice Research Institute knew every wheat or rice variety that had beendiscovered fifty years ago in Eastern India that was highly tolerant to submergence andbreeders had been very interested in this variety but they failed to and they triedconventional breeding to introduce this trait and to locally adapted varieties but thefarmers rejected all the varieties that they received and it was difficult to do the breedingbecause that was considered to be a complex. Trait and the varieties that were developedjust did not satisfy the local taste and yield requirements. So Dave came to my lab aboutfifteen, almost fifteen years ago and we had just isolated a disease resistant gene fromrice and he asked if we would try to isolate this gene including this submergence tolerantstrait that we call sub one and his plan was to use that genetic information to introducethis gene into locally adapted varieties so we were able to isolate the gene a couple ofyears ago and using that genetic information we generated in the lab Dave MackillÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s teamat the International Rice Research Institute developed some submergence tolerancevarieties so this is a time lapse sequence that I am going to show you that was taken at theInternational Rice Research Institute so its four months condensed into forty seconds, sohere you can see on the left is a sub one variety so its been planted and you can see bothvarieties are quite well but then in day twenty five this terrible flood comes and you cansee after the flood only the sub one variety is thriving, the conventional variety on theright are as sixty four is having a much harder time at recovering from this stress, this is atypical environmental stress in this case its flooding so we ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ this is a field trial and sofield trial is something thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s carried out in controlled conditions, in this case it was in thePhilippines in a controlled field station but DaveÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s group has great collaborations inBangladesh and India and he was able to bring the seed into farmers hands in thosecountries and looked at how the seed actually performed at farmers hands over threeyears and they found that the farmers found three to five fold increases in yield and thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢sbecause in every one of those years there was terrible floods its expected that flooding isgoing to be increased due to global climate change. So I was fortunate last November tovisit India and Bangladesh with the team of scientists that were involved in this projectand we interviewed some of the farmers to see what they had to say.So they speak a dialect called Orissa in this part of India and ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ sorry thatwas Bangladesh but they speak the same dialect in India in this eastern part of India andso we also had this great conversation in India in a tent so the farmers were asking thescientist questions, the scientist were asking them questions we had a lot of questions for them too.So this tells us that the discoveries in the laboratory here in the greaterbay area can be useful to farmers clear across the other side of the world and I want tojust close to bring you up to date to where we are now so this is a Arabidopsis, itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s a veryfamous plant in scientific circles, itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s a little weed in the mustard family, as same as allthose other vegetables that I showed you and it was the first crop genome to be sequentso that means that all the genes in this organism were decoded and there had beendramatic advancements in plant genetics even since 2000 when this first plant genomesequence was decoded, so for example in 2000 when we first got the Arabidopsis genomesequence it was estimated to take seven years, seventy million dollars and five hundredpeople to do this. Well now it estimated by 2010 the same exact project will take two tothree minutes and seventy dollars, this is a huge advancement. Since that time we havealso had the sequence of the rice genome and that greatly facilitated our work indeveloping submergence tolerance rice and we now have dozens of plant genomesequencing projects that are ongoing, so what are we going to do with this knowledgewell it seems to me nearly inevitable that genetic engineering will play an increasinglyimportant role in agriculture. The question really is not whether or not we should geneticengineering but more presently how we should use it to what responsible purpose.Agriculture needs are collective help in all appropriate tools if we are to feed the growingpopulation in an ecological manner and here the consumers have a significant opportunityto influence what kinds of plants that are developed and to address the key agriculturalchallenges. So we need to direct our attention to where it matters and we need to supportthe use of seed and farming methods that are good for the environment and good for the consumers.So I want to give you an example where we can move forward with this new knowledgeso this when I talked about rice, wheat and maze which are the major staples of thehuman population but the fourth one which you may not realize, the fourth staple crop isbanana. In Eastern Africa a hundred million people rely on banana as a staple foodsource. However, now there is a pandemic attack in bananas called banana wilt it attacksall varieties of banana and its causing complete crop loss, every year itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s advancing.Conventional breeding is not an option because bananas are generated through tissueculture not through conventional pollination so this is an example where we hope thatmodern genetic knowledge can be used to develop resistant variety so one idea is tointroduce a rice gene into banana and see if that will develop resistance to this veryserious disease. So I just want to close by saying putting genetic engineering and organicfarming against each other only prevents the transformative changes needed on ourfarms. There really seems to be a communication gap between organic and conventionalfarmers and between consumers and scientists, although with Obama in charge we areback to putting science at the place it needs on the table.The stakes are high in closing that gap without good science and good farming we cannoteven begin to dream about establishing an ecologically balanced biologically basedsystem of farming and ensuring food security. So I am just going to leave you with aquote from Rachel Carson one of the most important environmental activists of our timewho I think could be speaking about the genetic approaches that we are using today, thank you.