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RTP, North Carolina Welcomes GMO Answers

November 26, 2014
GMO Answers recently hosted its first Open Doors Tour where we invited local bloggers to visit three members of the Council for Biotechnology Information — Syngenta, BASF Plant Science and Bayer CropScience. This opportunity allowed the bloggers to see firsthand how plant biotechnology works. Tour participants were able to follow the lifecycle of a GMO from trait identification to commercialization, and visit the Bayer CropScience Bee Care Center to learn about agriculture and pollinators, and what is being done to ensure the safety and health of honey bees.

Here are some highlights from the tour:
“We started the day with a “Biotech 101” at Syngenta. Hope Hart, technical leader, discussed the different techniques plant breeders have used for thousands of years to create new varieties of crops with the traits (characteristics) they need, such as resistance to insects and diseases, and surviving among weeds or in drought. A few of the plant techniques discussed during the session included selective breeding, advanced breeding and genetic (GE) plant breeding. These methods are further explained in this infographic.

“Next, we then traveled to the BASF Research Facility to see exactly how genetic transfer occurs for a GMO. Patrick Walker, associate scientist, explained that once a trait of interest is identified, it is transferred into the intended plant, which can be done in a variety of ways.

“Lastly, we concluded our tour at Bayer CropScience where we saw how GMO crops are grown and studied in their state-of-the-art greenhouse. Here, we saw cotton, soybeans and corn plants, as well as the advanced technology that can regulate greenhouses to resemble the climate in any part of the world so that Bayer can test plants according to ‘local’ conditions…..In addition to touring the greenhouse, participants visited Bayer CropScience’s Bee Care Center and discussed the role bees play in our lives and agriculture. Becky Langer, ‎project manager, talked about the misconception that GMOs are tied to honey bee colony collapse disorder and noted several factors that can negatively impact honey bee health.”

After the tour the bloggers shared what they thought about their experience. Hear what they have to say in this video:



For more infographics and highlights from the Open Doors Tour, read GMO Answers Hosts Open Doors Tour in Raleigh.