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Talking Biotech with Dr. Kevin Folta

421 EpisodesProduced by ColabraWebsite

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. Ke… read more

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Temporary Hiatus, Changes Coming!

November 27th, 2023


After 8.5 years of weekly podcasts I'm going to take a 5 week break and plan new episodes for 2024.  I'm going through a medical glitch that has me unable to do my normal work. On top of this we're going to switch to an …

A Novel RNAi Approach to Crop Protection - Todd Hauser

November 18th, 2023


Even under the best conditions, crops need our assistance to survive the numerous threats that limit production. Classically, synthetic and natural …

Drugs from the Rainforest - Lisa Conte

November 11th, 2023


There is tremendous variation in the plant kingdom, as plants have adapted to many ecological niches with discrete challenges. Part of adaptation is …

Proposed Gene Editing Changes in the EU -Dr. Emma Kovak

November 4th, 2023


Gene editing is a powerful and specific technique that allows customized changes to DNA. Because there are no additional sequences transferred, and …

"On Disinformation" Critical Conversations in the Post-Truth Era- Dr. Lee McIntyre

October 28th, 2023


Information has been weaponized, and the ability to create false information to achieve an ideological goal has never been more easy. Political …

Therapeutics Controlling Protein Turnover - Dr. Juliet Williams

October 21st, 2023


While DNA captures most of the fanfare, proteins are the catalytic and structural superstars of the cell. However, they can also become problematic. Cells have intricate mechanisms to remove damaged or mis-expressed …

Biohacking, DIY Biotech- Opportunities and Ethics with David Ishee

October 14th, 2023


Recombinant DNA technologies once confined to the laboratory are now available to just about anyone. Is this a good thing or an extreme risk? David …

Rapid Detection of Dangerous Pathogens - Dr. Brad Perkins

October 7th, 2023


We're surrounded by microbes, many that are the basis of disease. Others have evolved resistance to our best antibiotics. Others may be weaponized …

The Pawpaw: History and Genetic Improvement - Adam D'Angelo

September 30th, 2023


The Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is the largest native North American fruit, and grows wild throughout most temperate forests of the eastern United States and Canada, from southern Ontario to the Florida border. Several …

In The News: Citrus Greening Disease Update; Dangerous Seed Oils? Cameron English

September 24th, 2023


In today's episode I cover two topics with Cameron English, science journalist and podcast host.  We discuss the current status of citrus greening disease in the USA, a disease that has ravaged the Florida juice …

Dogmatism Meets Unpopular Evidence: the Case of Second-Hand Smoke - Dr. Geoffrey Kabat

September 17th, 2023


The connection between tobacco smoke, cancer and heart disease has been well established since the 1800's, with irrefutable medical evidence presented since the 1950s. There is no question that smoking has significant …

A Non-Profit Biotech Model; Therapies for Rare Diseases - Dr. Ashley Winslow

September 9th, 2023


This episode has two parts. The first part discusses how Odylia Therapeutics is addressing rare disease, using a novel non-profit model. The second half address two rare genetic eye diseases and the approaches being …

Understanding Your Genetics with 23andMe - Dr. Joyce Tung

September 2nd, 2023


The more information you know about your genetics the better, right?  This is the idea behind companies like 23andMe, which offer platforms to understand your potential genetic predisposition toward a specific disease. …

Biotechnology in the Crime Lab - Brian Hoey

August 26th, 2023


DNA has been an invaluable tool to make certain matches between a suspect and a crime. Since its early use in the 1980s, we have seen an explosion in …

The Shill Accusation and How to Respond - Dr. Chris MacDonald

August 19th, 2023


If you've ever publicly communicated enthusiasm for a new product or technology, you inevitably have been accused to being a shill for the company …

Sustainable Chemistry through Synthetic Biology - Dr. Chance Elliott, Amyris

August 12th, 2023


Many consumer products contain chemistries that originate from an unsustainable source. Dr. Chance Elliott VP of R&D at Amyris describes how his …

A Look at the Color of Future Medical Care - Dr. Alicia Zhou

August 5th, 2023


The company Color has taken innovative approaches to varied aspects of public health.  From at-home kits that can assess cancer risk, to efforts to …

Breaking Barriers in Protein Therapeutics - Dr. Dan Mandell

July 29th, 2023


This is one hot tech discussion!  Protein therapeutics have great potential, but significant limitations to their utility. Dr. Dan Mandell of GRO Biosciences explains how they are using a non-standard library of amino …

Innovations in High Throughput Proteomics - Dr. Parag Mallick

July 22nd, 2023


While many global genomics analyzes gene variants or RNA expression products, the levels of proteins are usually the most informative.  At the same …

The Amazing Potential of Cell Transplants - Brian Culley

July 15th, 2023


Many diseases or disorders originate with a loss of cellular function.  Cell death or damage is at the root of many problems associated with aging or …

Adjusting to the Changing Biotech Landscape - Dr. Mike Tarselli

July 8th, 2023


Dr. Mike Tarselli, CSO of Tetra Science and Kevin Folta have a conversation about careers in biotech, where the discipline is going, along with …

Drug Discovery in a Simulated Cell - Dr. Daniel Veres

July 1st, 2023


What can be learned about biology from massive datasets, and can that information unveil opportunities for new therapeutics?  This is the approach by …

COVID19 Misinformation "We Want Them Infected" - Dr. Jonathan Howard

June 24th, 2023


The COVID19 pandemic was a challenge in public health, but became much worse through politicization of science and a thriving misinformation network. …

Rebuttal to RFKj's Glyphosate Comments on Joe Rogan

June 20th, 2023


Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is recognized for his bad science around critical issues like vaccination and agricultural chemistry.  Recently he enjoyed a …

Happy Green Guacamole - The Non-Browning Avocado. Dr. Jeff Touchman

June 17th, 2023


The avocado is a wonderful fruit that is gaining in popularity, full of healthful oils and other nutrients.  However, consumers consistently note the …

Talking Biotech Past, Present and Future

June 15th, 2023


The 400th episode also represents the first episode of the 9th year-- an amazing run for a tiny, self-produced podcast.  Where did it come from?  In this episode I talk about the genesis of the Talking Biotech podcast, …

Next Generation Livestock Vaccines - Joel Harris

June 3rd, 2023


Vaccination is a cornerstone of animal health, and is critically important in animal agricultural operations. A number of devastating livestock …

Telling Science's Story - Sam Kean

May 27th, 2023


Sam Kean is a prolific author that has a unique talent for sharing the stories of science.  Trained in physics, Kean's work describes seminal events …

Constructing Brain Maps with Machine Learning - Dr. Stephan Doyen

May 20th, 2023


The human brain is complex, but over the years massive data have been gathered regarding the relationship between structure and function.  From …

Novel Solutions for Chronic Kidney Disease -Dr. Andrew King

May 13th, 2023


The kidney is one of the organs necessary to filter blood, composed of tiny functional units that separate waste products from molecules the body …

395 Synthetic Circuits in Plant Biology - Dr. James Lloyd

May 6th, 2023


Plant biologists use a set of tools to modulate gene expression. The well-established set of molecular switches are rather crude, with limited …

The Uphill Battle Against Scientific Disinformation - Dr. Lonni Besançon

April 29th, 2023


Scientists are encouraged to step into the public conversation around controversial work, especially when that work seems to deliberately misinform, and can negatively affect public health.  A series of authors have …

How AI Has Changed the Business of Drug Discovery - Dr. Michael Zaiac

April 22nd, 2023


The companies on the front edge of pharmaceutical development have identified the value of massive data sets in the future of drug design. Ironically, personalization of therapies will be improved tremendously through …

Renewing This Old Brain - Dr. Jean Hebert

April 15th, 2023


As we age, the brain undergoes changes that lead to various disorders that affect physical ability and mental acuity. There are many processes at …

Countering Livestock mRNA Vaccine Disinformation - Drs. Alison Van Eenennaam and Terry Lehenbauer

April 8th, 2023


The COVID pandemic accelerated development of a new class of vaccines. This class, called mRNA vaccines, allows ease in manufacture, rapid response to disease or disease variants, and many other benefits.  But just like …

The Changing Biotech Business and Big Data Ecosystem - Dr. Jeffrey Reid, Regeneron

April 1st, 2023


In a rapidly changing technology environment, how do established businesses tackle smart growth and continue transformative change?  In this special …

Science Controversies in Social Media - Dr. Liza Dunn

March 25th, 2023


In this episode Dr. Kevin Folta shares a spontaneous conversation with Dr. Liza Dunn. Dr. Dunn is an emergency medicine physician with a specialty in …

Biotech Potatoes and Food Security - Dr. David Douches

March 18th, 2023


The potato is a world food staple, yet it is constantly threated by fungal and viral pathogens in all of its growing regions. Farmers combat these problems with chemistry, which cuts farmers profits and has potential …

Students Against Misinformation -Special Episode-

March 6th, 2023


Whereas we used to be challenged with finding information, today we are flooded with information, and our job has switched to vetting it's merits. Three students from the University of Florida spoke to me about their …

Treating Mental Illness through Nasal Drug Delivery - Shawn Singh

March 4th, 2023


Mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression are being diagnosed with increasing frequency. At the same time, treatment is frequently dependent on legacy drugs that oftentimes to do not work well, have drug …

Reinventing Lipid Nanoparticles - Dr. John Lewis

February 25th, 2023


Lipid nanoparticles have been around for decades, but they took a spotlight in the delivery of the COVID19 mRNA-based vaccines. This chemical cage can fuse with cell membranes and deliver a specific payload to a cell. …

Gene Therapy to Cure Rare Disease - Dr. Gaurav Shah

February 18th, 2023


There are many rare diseases that originate with a single letter change in DNA, and they can cause tremendous physical and financial hardship for families affected. Viral-based gene therapies have been a promise for …

Inspiring Innovations; State of Alzheirmer's Therapies - Dr. Leen Kawas

February 11th, 2023


This week's podcast has two parts.  Dr. Leen Kawas , Managing General Partner at Propel Biopartners, speaks about how biotech startups can benefit from skilled oversight and capital provided from experts that understand …

Nature's Transgenics - Evidence of Lateral Gene Transfer in Plants - Dr. Lara Pereira

February 4th, 2023


As the amount of plant genomic DNA sequence increases, scientists have detected DNA sequence information that simply does not conveniently fit into genome assemblies, and clearly appears to be from somewhere else. Dr. …

Status of the Biotech Salmon - Silvia Wulf

January 28th, 2023


Salmon are outstanding table fare, featuring flavor and nutrition. The AquAdvantage salmon is a genetically engineered salmon that is resistant to changes in growth due to seasonal fluctuation or the stresses …

Stopping Long-Term Disease by Arresting Aging - Dr. Eric Morgen

January 21st, 2023


The mythical Fountain of Youth may be an actual component of our physiology. Aging is not simply the body breaking down against the calendar, it is a …

The Risks of Manufactured Viruses - Dr. Kevin Esvelt

January 14th, 2023


What are the risks associated with being able to create custom DNA?  Today's podcast discusses the potential weaponization of synthesized nucleic acid sequences. Dr. Kevin Esvelt discusses synthetic DNA and synthetic …

Biotech Fetal Diagnostics - Daniel Weisman

January 7th, 2023


If a genetic disorder can be detected in the developing fetus, it provides families and physicians vital information that can guide important …

Brexit May Bring Gene Editing to the UK- Cameron English

December 31st, 2022


While there are many views on Brexit, one certain benefit is the UK's self-governing role in scientific regulatory affairs. The EU's position on …

Releasing the Biotech Blight Resistant Chestnut - Erik Carlson

December 24th, 2022


The American chestnut was a dominant tree in many forests in the eastern United States. In the late 1800's an imported fungus spread rapidly throughout the range, destroying most of the trees in a matter of decades. …

New Cancer Drugs: Breaking the Cell Cycle -- Spiro Rombotis

December 17th, 2022


The "cell cycle" describes discrete steps in the process of cell division.  The progression is mediated by a series of gatekeeping biochemical activities that ensure complete replication of DNA, and surveil it for …

Bioengineering Yeast for Better Beer - Dr. Charles Denby

December 10th, 2022


Beer is a beverage derived from the fermentation of grain by yeast.  Hops impart their specific flavor and aroma notes. Together these ingredients produce a vast array of flavors and aromas that have become extremely …

Genes Controlling Plant Size

December 3rd, 2022


Bigger plants are better, right?  Not always. Control of plant or tree size can have many advantages, and genetic control of 'dwarf' phenotypes has …

As Gods: A Moral History of the Genetic Age - Matthew Cobb

November 26th, 2022


The modern era of genetic engineering has opened tremendous opportunities in medicine and agriculture. But who governs when the technology should be …

The Genomes of Parasites - Dr. Jessie Kissinger

November 19th, 2022


Parasites are known contributors to human disease and suffering, spanning a wide range of organisms. Dr. Jessie Kissinger from the University of Georgia has spent the last two decades curating genomic data from hundreds …

Cancer Misinformation - Dr. Skyler Johnson

November 12th, 2022


"Cancer" is the generic term applying to any one of many cellular proliferative disorders that threaten normal physiology.  Various cancers have …

Livestock, Climate Change, and Attacks on a Scientist - Dr. Frank Mitloehner

November 5th, 2022


Animal agriculture contributes greenhouse gases that can influence climate change. One source in particular is cattle, as ruminant livestock produce …

A Gene-Edited Vaccine Against Malaria - Dr. Stefan Kappe

October 29th, 2022


The mosquito is the most deadly animal on earth. It vectors a plasmodium, a eukaryotic parasite that invades the liver of the host and ultimately …

Seralini's Lumpy Rats - Ten Years Later

October 22nd, 2022


Ten years ago the biotech world froze and horrific images of three tumor-ridden rats penetrated the media. Social media erupted with messages of fear, and anti-biotech activists celebrated the scientific publication …

New Therapeutics for Novel Problems through Collaboration - Dr. Betsy O'neill

October 8th, 2022


 Dr. Betsy O'neill, VP of External Innovation at Horizon Therapeutics describes how strategic partnerships can assist biotech startups in moving new therapies through development to deployment.  She discusses her …

The Long COVID HERV Connection - Dr. Claudia Matteucci

October 1st, 2022


Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) are genome-resident relics of ancient infections. They comprise 8% of the human genome, and are activated by …

Purple Tomatoes and Health - Dr. Cathie Martin

September 24th, 2022


Anthocyanins are a class of plant pigments associated with healthful qualities in food. While research continues to assess their true health benefits …

Rapid Detection of Sexually Transmitted Infections with Microfluidics - Dr. Anna Dixon

September 17th, 2022


Sexually transmitted infections like chlamydial and gonorrhea are making a comeback, especially with younger demographics. Part of the problem is the stigma of examination and testing. These are not trivial infections, …

The Gut-Brain Axis: What it is, associated problems and new therapies. Nancy Thornberry

September 10th, 2022


Communication between the digestive system and brain is much more intricate than previously thought.  The digestive epithelium is laced with sensors that monitor the contents of the gut, reporting back to the brain, …

Dr. Nikolay Kandul: Precision Insect Control with Gene Editing

September 3rd, 2022


Insects cause massive losses in human health and agriculture. Scientists have implemented Sterile Insect Technique for over 50 years, a process to …

Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam: Update on Animal Genome Editing

August 27th, 2022


While the vast majority of gene editing efforts have been confined to crop plants, animal gene editing holds tremendous promise. Efforts have …

Dr. Liang Schweizer: Creating Targeted Antibodies in Single Cells

August 20th, 2022


Immunotherapies represent a powerful suite of treatments that co-opt the immune system to target deleterious cellular conditions.  They have been …

Celine Halioua: Extending Health and Life, Starting with Dogs

August 13th, 2022


Dogs are a recent species, and because of their close associations with humans have diverged into hundreds of breeds with specific behaviors, sizes and builds. There also is a great range in life expectancy and …

Dr. Mallory Embree: Optimizing Animal Microbiomes

August 6th, 2022


A microbiome is described as a population of bacteria, fungi, protists and viruses that inhabit a specific environment. Animals, including humans, …

Dr. Shelley McGuire and Gabe Ignetti: Glyphosate in Breast Milk? / Eco-Modernism

July 30th, 2022


This week's podcast has two parts. In the first section University of Idaho lactation specialist Dr. Shelley McGuire discusses the recent paper that claims to have found the herbicide glyphosate in breast milk. In the …

Dr. Erica Barnell: Stool-Based Detection of Colon Cancer

July 23rd, 2022


Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death, but is remarkably treatable if caught early. Unfortunately, because of the invasive …

Dr. Scott Franklin: Microalgae - Factories for Improved Polymers

July 16th, 2022


The foundation of many modern consumer products begins with petroleum. Fossil fuels contain the building blocks of higher-complexity polymers, and …

Joel Rurik: CAR-T Therapies to Reverse Cardiac Fibrosis

July 9th, 2022


Injury to organs frequently results in impaired function due to the formation of scar tissue. Heart attacks and chronic high blood pressure can …

Dr. Sandra Pritzkow: Prions and Chronic Wasting Disease

July 2nd, 2022


Prion disorders are rare neurological diseases where a protein within the nervous system converts to a pathological form. The change in conformation …

Dr. Liza Dunn: Biotech, Pesticides, Toxicology and Food

June 25th, 2022


Specific chemistries are used to protect crops from insects, weeds, fungi and other microbes. Legacy issues with some older pesticides led to …

Dr. Asaf Hellman: Methylation of DNA, Relationship to Disease

June 18th, 2022


Epigenetic regulation of gene expression occurs via many mechanisms.  One method is the methylation of regulatory sequences that control the …

Dr. Tim Errington: Addressing the Issue of Scientific Reproducibility

June 10th, 2022


Recent reports criticized the lack of reproducibility in scientific publications, and this has profound effects on the public's trust in research …

Dr. Mathias Uhlen: The Human Protein Atlas

June 4th, 2022


Proteins define the structure and function of cells. The human genome encodes tens of thousands of proteins, yet we know surprisingly little about most of their functions. The Human Protein Atlas uses labor-intensive …

Dr. Dietrich Stephan: New Drugs that Repair Broken Genes

May 28th, 2022


Many diseases do not have cures, yet from deleterious mutations in the genome. Many of these are rare disorders that do not benefit from extensive research or drug development. Current therapies mask symptoms more than …

Jon Guy: An Owner's Manual for the Mind

May 21st, 2022


We are bombarded by claims, and have access to the most information in human history, instantly.  How do we sort it out? What is real and what's not?  Who do we trust? These are major questions today, and affect …

Meredith Fensom: Update on Self-Limiting Mosquitoes

May 14th, 2022


Mosquitoes are the world's most dangerous animals, vectoring dozens of diseases. One of the major disease vectors is Ades aegypti, an invasive insect with an ever-expanding range. Municipalities have turned to …

Dr. Oki O'Connor: New Drugs Targeting Dangerous Cholesterol

May 7th, 2022


Heart attack and stroke are leading causes of death worldwide. Current treatments are aimed at prevention-- using various medications to control the …

Dr. Awais Khan: Breeding the Next Amazing Apple

April 30th, 2022


Apples are a beloved fruit, with over 8000 varieties available worldwide. The apples in the grocery store represent just a tiny section of apple genetic potential, a few flavors that ship well and can be stored for a …

Dr. Michael Levin: Biological Plasticity, Bioelectricity, and Limb Regeneration

April 23rd, 2022


The process of animal development is a complex coordination of different genes through time.  At least that's what we thought.  Dr. Michael Levin from Tufts University is forcing us to rethink these processes, with …

Dr. Brandon McFadden: Consumer Sentiment and Gene Editing

April 16th, 2022


Gene editing with CRISPR/Cas, TALEN or other tools allows scientists to make directed and precise changes in DNA.  The technologies promise to …

Joe Landolina: Stopping Bleeding with Algal-Based Polymers

April 9th, 2022


A significant number of fatalities are due to blood loss following accidents, injuries or medical procedures. While many methods can stop …

Dr. Felicia Wu: Fungal Toxins in Food

April 2nd, 2022


Mycotoxins are carcinogenic compounds that arise from specific fungal infections in various crop plants, with corn and peanut being key examples.  In the industrialized world, governments monitor relevant crops …

Dr. Olly Peoples: Plastics and Fuels from Camelina

March 26th, 2022


Camelina (Camelina sativa) is an oilseed brassica that grows fast and produces many seeds. It grows in marginal soil and great resistance to disease and environmental stress.  That said, it is an ideal plant to use as a …

Dr. Arvinda Nath: Endogenous Retroviruses and Disease

March 19th, 2022


Upon sequencing the human genome, scientists were surprised to find that it is composed of about 8% viral sequence. These fossils are relics of ancient primate infections where retroviruses incorporated into the …

Melanie Trecek-King: Evaluating Scientific Claims

March 12th, 2022


We are bombarded with information, but do we know what sources to trust and how to evaluate specific claims?  Melanie Tercek-King joins the podcast to discuss some fundamentals of critical thinking, and implement her …

Dr. Robert Paarlberg: Resetting the Table

March 5th, 2022


In his new book Dr. Robert Paarlberg describes the current state of the food system, focusing on issues like industrial farming, organic farming, …

Dr. Monika Gulia-Nuss: Biotech and Tick Vectored Disease

February 26th, 2022


Ticks are significant disease vectors, with an emerging scope of pathologies associated with tick bites. New technologies have accelerated the …

Dr. Anne Simon: Plant Viruses / X Files Science

February 19th, 2022


Dr. Anne Simon is an expert in plant viruses.  She describes some of the current threats to plant biology, and discusses ways that viruses may be …

Jesus Martin-Garcia: New Therapies for HERV-Based Disease

February 13th, 2022


Human Endogenous Retroviruses (HERVs) comprise 8% of the human genome and are relics of ancient infections, some dating back to pre-human primates.  These resident viral elements can be awakened by viral infections, and …

Talking Biotech Podcast Changes and Future

February 13th, 2022


As we enter our eighth year, the podcast is partnering with Colabra, experts in laboratory IT that will help and accelerate your R&D.  You won't …

Eric Focht: Avocado Genetics and Improvement

February 5th, 2022


Avocado consumption is rapidly increasing, and global production booming. However, the diversity of fruit choices is typically constrained to Hass.  There is tremendous diversity in avocado, featuring a range of …

Trish Jordan: Hollywood and the Percy Schmeiser Story

January 29th, 2022


The story of Percy Schmeiser is a well known tale of big biotech against the little farmer from rural Saskatchewan. Schmeiser grew canola, and his …

Zack Johnson: The Importance of Telling Ag’s Story

January 22nd, 2022


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 …

Dr. John Houston: Attacking Disease by Targeting Proteins

January 15th, 2022


Many diseases are rooted in the incorrect accumulation of proteins that regulate key cellular processes.  Dozens of proteins control processes like …

Erik Carlson: Update on Transgenic (“GMO”) Chestnut

January 8th, 2022


The American Chestnut used to dominate Appalachian forests, but declined after a fungal disease was introduced to North America in the early 1900’s.  …

Cameron English: Is Biotechnology Just New Colonialism?

January 1st, 2022


Two unusually parallel articles emerged this week, both claiming that modern ag technology (as they say, “GMO”) is just another arm of colonial …

Wine Flavor: Merging Grape and Yeast Genomes

December 25th, 2021


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 …

Cindy’s Gift to End Glioblastoma

December 18th, 2021


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 …

Gender Equity in the Pharmaceutical Industry

December 11th, 2021


The executive ranks of the pharmaceutical industry are populated with a clear over representation of older males. How did we get here, and how is the …

The Challenges of Growing Plants in Space

December 4th, 2021


Sustained space travel and colonization will depend on the ability to grow food in extra-terrestrial environments. The fact that plants evolved on …

Tiredness: Time for DNA Repair!

November 27th, 2021


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, …

Reprogramming T-Cells for Immunotherapies

November 20th, 2021


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. The approach has worked well against …

Breeding Future Olives

November 13th, 2021


Olives have a prominent role in the production of aromatic healthy culinary oils and brined olives for the table.  Olive oil production occurs …

Insulin from Synthetic Biology

November 6th, 2021


Thirty million Americans depend on daily doses of insulin to stay alive.  This small protein hormone is responsible for the regulation of blood …

What We Can Learn from Ancient DNA

October 30th, 2021


How can analysis of DNA isolated from old, preserved organisms, bones, or tissues tell us about life today?  Dr. Beth Shapio is a professor at the …

Integrated Molecular Strategies in Combating Disease

October 23rd, 2021


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

October 16th, 2021


Genetic counselors play a critical role from pre-natal guidance to lifelong expertise in managing genetically-based disorders. With the tools of …

Rediscovery of New Cancer Drugs

October 9th, 2021


Drug pipelines are thick with novel compounds that may have an effect on our most insidious diseases.  However, most either fail early trials or are withdrawn because companies don’t see the return on investment of …

Evidence that Modern Birds are Dinosaurs

October 2nd, 2021


The classical assumption was that the modern dinosaur lineage led directly to today’s reptiles. However, a growing suite of evidence has shown that …

Debunking Jeffrey Smith

September 25th, 2021


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 …

Influencing a Conversation with a #ScienceHug

September 19th, 2021


In this week of technical failures and personal challenges, this week’s podcast investigates the merits of civil conversation.  In an angry online …

Relax and Enjoy Your Food

September 11th, 2021


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, …

Misinformation and GMOs

September 4th, 2021


How does misinformation about genetically engineered crops (GMOs) start and how do we correct it?  These are questions asked by Prof. Robert Bird of the University of Connecticut.  Prof. Bird discusses how an errant …

Glyphosate Residues and Dietary Exposure

August 28th, 2021


The herbicide glyphosate has been used for decades, with increased use paralleling the adoption of genetically engineered crops. The compound has a …

Florida’s COVID Response / Long COVID

August 21st, 2021


Today’s podcast features two interviews about COVID19.  The first is an interview with Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried.  Commissioner …

Early Cancer Detection with Liquid Biopsy

August 14th, 2021


 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. Dr. Steven Quake of the Chan-Zukerberg Biohub …

Last Minute Guests!

August 7th, 2021


Yay for gremlins!  Technical difficulties precluded the planned podcast, but that didn’t stop two good interviews from materializing a the last …

Activating Suites of Plant Genes with Cas9

July 31st, 2021


 The role of Cas9 as an editing/deletion nuclease has been well established, but can it be used to turn genes on?   Dr. Yiping Qi of the University …

COVID19 Detection in Masks and Wearables

July 24th, 2021


COVID19 is the spectrum of pathologies caused by the SARS-CoV2 virus.  While the pandemic moves well into its second year, the importance of …

Virus Resistant Cassava in Kenya

July 17th, 2021


 Cassava is a staple for one in ten people on earth, grown mostly by small famers tending a few acres. One of the challenges is insect-vectored virus Cassava Brown-Streak Virus that destroys the root.  Scientists from …

The Battle to Teach Science

July 10th, 2021


 Episode 300 is guest-hosted by Ally Kennedy. She interviews Dr. Kevin Folta about the obstacles to communicating science over the last decade. From …

Revisiting Huber’s Claims

July 3rd, 2021


 He jet-sets around the planet and writes letters to government officials, brandishing academic and military credentials. He speaks with authority as an affiliate of a land-grant university.  His claims rattle audiences …

Good Science Information vs Disinformation Feedback Loops

June 26th, 2021


 The Genetic Literacy Project is a popular science news website.  A diverse set of articles and viewpoints are presented, with original articles and …

Smart People, Bad Food Choices

June 19th, 2021


 Jack Bobo has been studying food, farming and the associated psychology for decades, asking questions about the choices people make around food. His …

Turning Plastic Waste Into Vanilla

June 12th, 2021


We have two major problems.  Vanilla is mostly produced in a narrow set of unstable economies and the supply chains are especially vulnerable.  There …

Evidence of Widespread Gene Transfer

June 5th, 2021


 Analysis of massive genomic DNA sequence data indicates that gene transfer between similar species actually happened, and did so at a surprising rate.  Today’s podcast with Dr. Luke Dunning of University of Sheffield …

Widespread GMOs in Nature

May 29th, 2021


 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.  That’s because genetic engineering largely uses Agrobacterium to perform …

Debunking the Disinformation Dozen

May 22nd, 2021


 Dr. Dan Wilson is a rising star of science communication. His popular YouTube channel Debunk the Funk provides entertaining and evidence-based …

Peptoids as Therapeutic Tools

May 15th, 2021


 Peptides have increasingly emerging roles in cellular signaling and anti-microbial applications. Peptioids are cousins of their active peptide …

Kleptoplasty and a Solar-Powered Animal

May 8th, 2021


 A solar-powered animal?  There are species of sea slugs that consume algae, then integrate the chloroplasts into their own digestive cells.  There …

Methylation Clocks, Aging and Disease

May 1st, 2021


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 …

The GalSafe Pig and Xenotransplantation

April 24th, 2021


Last week’s episode covered Alpha Gal Syndrome, the tick-induced allergy to beef and pork.  The same immunological response could also limit a …

Alpha Gal Syndrome

April 17th, 2021


 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.  After that, you can’t eat beef or pork without experiencing an intense allergic reaction.  …

Bioluminescence, Antibiotic Resistance, and Science Communication

April 10th, 2021


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 …

Identifying Rare Compounds with A.I.

April 3rd, 2021


While genomics approaches have opened a universe of new compounds in plants, the vast majority remain uncharacterized. Brightseed has employed an artificial intelligence platform to scan for novel compounds, with a goal …

Your DNA Sequence, Benefits and Risks

March 27th, 2021


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 …

Combating Vaccine Hesitancy

March 20th, 2021


The COVID19 vaccines were produced in record time, an amazing feat. However, additional challenges have been revealed in their distribution.  Perhaps the most formidable barrier is the very last one– executing the …

Misinformation vs. An Honest Conversation

March 13th, 2021


This week’s podcast is a dissection of another popular podcast that features self-proclaimed experts in genetic engineering (familiarly GMO), and the …

An App to Identify On-Target Gene Editing Variation

March 6th, 2021


At its core, gene editing works to break gene function by creating errors in a DNA sequence at a specific location. The process works by creating a precise cut that is repaired by the cell’s repair mechanisms, and those …

COVID19 Testing and Personal Cancer Screenings

February 27th, 2021


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. When the disease is …

Greenpeace Beginnings, and Golden Rice

February 20th, 2021


Dr. Patrick Moore was a founding member of Greenpeace. In the years past its inception he worked tirelessly on ecological issues. Over time, he saw …

New Technology to Save Bananas

February 13th, 2021


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.  However, crops like bananas and coffee …

Gene Editing and Recovery from Radiation

February 6th, 2021


Radiation is a natural energy that constantly bombards us.  At the same time we have harnessed its power for medical imaging, therapeutics, energy …

SARS-CoV2: Immune Response and RNA Vaccines

January 30th, 2021


The story of biotechnology’s response to the pandemic is an amazing one, and we continue coverage of these events as they arise. Today guest host Dr. …

Amazing Products from Algae

January 23rd, 2021


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 …

Targeting Cancers with Gene Editing

January 16th, 2021


Certain aggressive cancers have profound effects on lifespan and quality of life. Patient prognosis can be grim, and therapies are harsh. Dr. Dan Peer of the University of Tel Aviv leads a group that has targeted …

GE Crops: What do Consumers Really Think?

January 9th, 2021


Consumers have many opinions about food, and are continually bombarded by information from manufacturers to self-proclaimed experts. To gauge what …

2020 Science Stories

January 2nd, 2021


The COVID-19 pandemic overshadowed an incredible year of innovation in biotechnology.  Today’s podcast is a simulcast between the Science Facts and …

Immune Response to COVID19 and its Vaccines

December 26th, 2020


The COVID19 vaccines have the potential to squelch a dangerous pandemic. However, the public has many questions about their safety and efficacy that …

mRNA Vaccine Mechanism, Safety, Communication

December 20th, 2020


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. Ultimately compelling the vaccine hesitant to …

Apple Domestication and Variation

December 12th, 2020


Apples seem rather ubiqutous, but what we see in the stores are just a sample of the genetic diversity that is out there.  Today’s podcast discusses apple domestication and diversification with Dr. Norm Weeden.  its …

The Ag Innovation Ecosystem

December 5th, 2020


Despite its essential role in the economy and food security, agriculture has lagged behind with respect to adoption of new technology. This has …

What is an mRNA Vaccine?

November 28th, 2020


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 …

Genetic Engineering in Animal Agriculture

November 21st, 2020


Technology is driving innovation on the farm, and there have been significant efforts in improving livestock.  Whether it was to produce a novel …

Gene Writing: New Tech to Correct Disease

November 14th, 2020


Gene editing is a relatively new technology that has revolutionary applications in agriculture and medicine.  The drawback to the technology is that …

Onion Domestication and Improvement

November 7th, 2020


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 …

What are Pumpkins?

October 31st, 2020


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

October 24th, 2020


Gene editing moved quickly from the lab to application, so fast that the public is unsure how to think about it.  We can cure disease, but are we playing with the natural order of things? These are questions that …

New Technology Same GMOs : My Commentary

October 17th, 2020


This week two scientists pioneering gene editing won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.  Days later, a group of perennial naysayers gathered to denounce …

Vaccines Against Digestive Cancers

October 10th, 2020


 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

October 3rd, 2020


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.  How do issues like …

Drug Targets for HIV

September 26th, 2020


 The human immunodeficiency virus remains prevalent in the population, yet it as silently moved out of the public’s consciousness, overshadowed by …

Rapid Detection of Bloodborne Pathogens

September 19th, 2020


Sepsis is an infection of the blood.  It can be critical and life threatening, and can complicate other co-morbidities.  One of the main problems is that a number of bacterial and fungal pathogens can cause a septic …

Plants Engineered to Remove Indoor Air Toxins

September 12th, 2020


Indoor air contains a variety of harmful compounds.  We invite many of these compounds into our homes in electronics, and others occur spontaneously …

Communicating COVID19; Careful with Cancellation

September 6th, 2020


This week’s guest is the host!  It was important to discuss communication tips during a pandemic, especially around popular myths and news stories …

GE Mosquito Release in Florida

August 29th, 2020


Florida is the canary in the coalmine for mosquito-transmitted disease in the USA.  The Florida Keys are especially vulnerable.  Traffic through this …

Penguin Genomics and Adaptation

August 22nd, 2020


Penguins are charismatic, flightless, diving birds.  While typically associated only with Antarctica, their center of origin, radiation and …

The Race to the COVID19 mRNA Vaccine

August 15th, 2020


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.  The crisis has ignited efforts from over 130 companies, all racing …

Prions: Infectious Proteins

August 8th, 2020


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”. Unlike other infectious agents like …

The Bull that (probably) Sires Mostly Bulls

August 1st, 2020


 Male cattle (bulls) convert feed calories to weight gain more efficiently than females (cows). If more bulls could be put into beef production, the …

The Unfortunate Casualties of an Anti-Biotech Attack

July 25th, 2020


In 2001 the Earth Liberation Front bombed the office of Dr. Toby Bradshaw at the University of Washington.  The damage was massive, especially toward non-targeted labs.  This is a great story of how misguided activism …

Circadian Clocks

July 18th, 2020


Most organisms on earth evolved under constant intervals of light and darkness. The regular intervals led to the evolution of internal clocks that …

DNA Demystified

July 11th, 2020


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 …

A Science-Based Glyphosate Documentary

July 4th, 2020


The documentary space is littered with videos that misrepresent science, especially around agriculture. Dr. Hidde Boersma is a trained scientist that …

Gene Editing in Species Conservation

June 27th, 2020


Analysis of populations of animals can be problematic, especially when individuals of different species share similar visual characteristics. Dr. …

COVID19 Update — What is Circular Health?

June 20th, 2020


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 …

The Dawn of Plant Genetic Engineering

June 13th, 2020


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.  We’re joined today by Dr. Robb Fraley, who was at ground zero …

What is Aflatoxin? What is Aflasafe?

June 6th, 2020


Aflatoxin is a natural poison emitted by several species of fungi. They infect grain, and exploit insect damage.  Millions of people are affected by these toxins that invade world food staples, mostly with a higher …

The Klamath Basin Water Crisis; Your Questions Answered

May 30th, 2020


Today’s podcast starts with answering your questions, covering biodynamic farming, cover crops and my financial transparency.  The second part discusses a battle between sensitivity to endangered species and farmers’ …

Inside Monsanto; Communication in Science and Agriculture

May 23rd, 2020


Vance 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. All had a common thread of situational communication and unique …

COVID19: Do Masks Matter?

May 16th, 2020


Throughout the COVID19 pandemic we have heard various opinions about wearing face coverings and protective masks. Some see them as critical …

Pandemic Cuisine: COVID19 and Food Trends

May 9th, 2020


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 …

COVID19 Epidemiology Trends

May 4th, 2020


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.  To remedy this situation it is critical that we step into …

The Vaccine Manhattan Project

May 2nd, 2020


The wartime response of the Manhattan Project streamlined production of weapons to revolve World War II.  The plan involved massive redundancy, …

Molecular Studies in Weed Science

April 25th, 2020


Weeds are a tremendous problem in agriculture, costing farmers billions a year in crop loss and the cost of control.  In Europe one of the critical …

Cattle Domestication

April 18th, 2020


Cattle are currently used for meat, milk, hide products and as work animals.  Where did they come from?  Who are the wild relatives?  Dr. Hans Lenstra from the Utrecht University describes the domestication of cattle, …

Stewardship of Biotechnology Crops in Africa.

April 11th, 2020


Western Africa holds many nations of substantial population and an emerging economies.  The nation has recently approved the use of the Bt cowpea to …

Apples to Oranges: Abuse of Meta Analysis

April 4th, 2020


The meta-analysis is traditionally considered to be a high synthesis of extant scientific literature. Their implicit power places them in headlines …

Special Topics in COVID19

March 29th, 2020


In this special edition of the Talking Bitotech Podcast Dr. Kevin Folta covers recent topics in COVID19.  These topics are pulled from the headlines …

The Molecular and Cellular Basis of Grafting

March 21st, 2020


Grafting is an age-old practice of connecting a set of roots to an aerial portion of a separate plant.  Together they typically exhibit enhanced …

A Deeper Dive into COVID-19

March 12th, 2020


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 …

A Universal Flu Vaccine

March 7th, 2020


Seasonal influenza causes thousands of deaths annually.  Part of the problem is that the vaccine must be administered annually because the virus …

Improved Oils from Plants with GE

February 29th, 2020


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.  Dr. Surinder Singh is an …


February 22nd, 2020


The gene editing explosion has accelerated discovery, food and therapies by defining a new toolbox of useful ways to manipulate DNA.  The “Cas” …

Remembering Dr. Chad Finn; Intro to the Global Gene Editing Tracker

February 15th, 2020


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 …

Fake News Survivor, and Coronavirus Update

February 8th, 2020


 Dr. Ilaria Capua is an internationally recognized virologist, and a world expert in avian influenza and other animal viruses.  Following her effort …

Opportunities with American Society of Plant Biologists

February 1st, 2020


The American Society of Plant Biologists is the largest professional society for plant biologists.  Dr. Mary Williams discusses some of the ways that …

Women in Genomics

January 25th, 2020


Like many areas of science, the early days of genomics quickly became a male-dominated discipline.  While more women were earning advanced degrees …

Cassava Innovation in Africa

January 18th, 2020


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 …

Talking Biotech Hiatus

January 11th, 2020


I’ve dreaded this day.  I have not missed a Saturday in a long time, but after being told to end the series by the institution I have not been able …

Biotech Cotton Comes to Kenya

January 4th, 2020


Kenya is an emerging economy and has significant investment in advanced technologies.  However, a 2013 ban on biotech crops has limited farmer access …

International Biotechnology, Policy and Future

December 28th, 2019


Dr. Stuart Smyth is no stranger to anyone that has watched social media.  As a leading ag economist he has consistently represented science and …

An Engineered Cowpea for Africa

December 21st, 2019


The cowpea is a high-protein food staple in parts of Africa, particularly in the growing countries of Nigeria, Niger, and Burkina-Fasso. Production …

Precision Medicine

December 14th, 2019


There is a massive amount of human genomic DNA sequence data, and it is now possible to identify correlates with specific disease, drug sensitivity …

Bacteria Fixing Nitrogen in Plants

December 7th, 2019


 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.  At the same time …

The GE Crop Ban in South Australia

November 30th, 2019


While the country of Australia has been growing genetically-engineered crops for over 15 years, the state of South Australia has banned their use.  This moratorium has been in place since 2004, and requires farmers to …

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

November 23rd, 2019


The genomics era has generated tremendous data sets, yet the information they reveal is limited by the human biases that search them.  Are there ways to examine complex data sets for hidden patterns that can unearth new …

Egg Production and GE Ethics

November 16th, 2019


There is an unfortunate side to egg production.  Only female chickens produce eggs, so layers are selected at hatching.  Chicks are sexed with a vent inspection. Females are kept for egg production.  Males live a short …

Food Bullying

November 9th, 2019


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.  The book, aptly …

CAR-T Cells: Engineered to Attack Cancer

November 2nd, 2019


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.  CAR-T cells are T-cells, immune cells of the …

Impossible Burgers and Biotechnology

October 26th, 2019


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. There is a lot of discussion about the product, …

Edible Cotton Seed

October 19th, 2019


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.  However, the seeds are not directly edible by …

Farm Aid: Anti Biotech and Farmer Choice?

October 12th, 2019


The Farm Babe Michelle Miller is a farmer, speaker, columnist and blogger that advocates for agricultural producers, and seeks to better connect …

Engineered Microbes to Fix Nitrogen

October 5th, 2019


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.  Humans have devised …

The Ugly Politics of Glyphosate Litigation

September 28th, 2019


Dr. David Zaruk has become the foremost authority on the questionable practices within the IARC and their decision-making process.  Over the last several years he has taken a key point position in interpreting the …

Mosquito Biotech Solutions – Getting the Story Straight

September 21st, 2019


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 …

Plagiarism and Image Manipulation in Scientific Pubilcation

September 14th, 2019


Dr. Elisabeth Bik is a hero. Classically trained with plenty of lab-bench expertise, today she patrols the best scientific literature in search for …

An HIV Preventative in GE Rice

September 7th, 2019


While HIV incidence has remained stable in the industrialized world, the virus is still transmitted in the Developing World.  The development of methods of prophylaxis are critical to disease containment, yet moving …

Supporting Farmer Choice in South Australia

August 31st, 2019


Australia has welcomed the use of genetically engineered crops, and farmers have found particular benefit from broad acre canola and cotton …

A Bioengineered Hangover Helper?

August 24th, 2019


Genetically engineered microbes commonly manufacture our vitamins and amino acid supplements, but can they be supplements themselves?  Zbiotics has …

Food 5.0 -How We Feed the Future

August 17th, 2019


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 …

Gene Editing and Sickle Cell Disease

August 10th, 2019



Sickle cell disease is an inherited condition that predominantly affects people of African descent. The disease results in chronic pain and …

Nano Bar Codes and Product Fidelity

August 3rd, 2019


Products move from producer to consumer through complicated networks called supply chains.  These routes of custody involve many people and …

Citrus Greening Disease Update

July 27th, 2019


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 …

Immunotherapies Against HIV

July 20th, 2019


The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the causal agent of the spectrum of disorders known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).  For decades, those infected have found relief from anti-retroviral therapies …

Bt Brinjal in Bangladesh

July 13th, 2019


Bangladesh is a population dense country with relatively little farmland.  Subsistence farmers make a living by growing, harvesting and selling …

Countering Disinformation in Africa

July 6th, 2019


The African continent is emerging in many ways, yet still is developing economically.  Technology is a huge part of the African transformation, yet …

Domesticating Bacteria for Industrial Production

June 29th, 2019


Bacteria  surround us and have specialized functions in adaptation and metabolism.  Could they be helpful as micro machines that catalyze key …

Curing PRRS with Gene Editing

June 22nd, 2019


Pork production worldwide is limited by a series of viral pig diseases that slow growth, cause illness and restrict reproduction.  One of these is known as PRRS, Porcine Respiratory and Reproductive Syndrome.  PRRS has …

Indian Farmers Protest for Technology Access

June 15th, 2019


While Indian farmers have realized benefits from GE cotton, food crops have been forbidden from this growing country.  Their neighbor to the west, Bangladesh, has realized great gains from the “Bt” Brinjal (eggplant).  …

Glyphosate: The Murder of a Molecule

June 13th, 2019


The war against agricultural biotechnology shifted in the last several years.  Carefully constructed steps by those opposed to technology have …

Dinosaurs, DNA and De-Extinction

June 8th, 2019


The visions of Jurassic Park are an extrapolation of actual research being performed all over the world.  Research has shown that avian dinosaurs …

The Future of Fruit and Vegetable Production

June 1st, 2019


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 …

African Biotechnology Update

May 25th, 2019


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

May 18th, 2019


Blackberries are a popular, healthy fruit with increasing availability to the consumer.  Over the last century significant progress has been made in …

A Potential Cure for Citrus Greening Disease

May 11th, 2019


Huanglongbing, or HLB, is the Chinese term for the Yellow Dragon Disease– usually referred to as Citrus Greening.  The disease first appeared in the USA in the Miami area in 2005, and since has spread to every grove.  …

Psychophysics, Smell and Taste / Women in Science

May 4th, 2019


Dr. Linda Bartoshuk has been recognized as an expert on interactions between the smell, taste, psychology and the brain for many decades.  While so …

Banned But Doing It Anyway!

April 27th, 2019


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 …

Insect Resistant Cowpea in Africa

April 20th, 2019


Cowpea is a critical crop in Western Africa.  It is consumed by millions daily, but also feeds livestock, all the while providing important nitrogen …

A Synthetic Light Switch Increases Photosynthesis

April 13th, 2019


One of the limiting factors in photosynthesis is the plant’s ability to take up carbon dioxide to assimilate into carbohydrates. At least part of the problem is the size of the small pores, or stomata, that are used for …

Sleep: A Time for DNA Repair

April 6th, 2019


Sleep remains a mystery to science, as it is a state where an organism is vulnerable to potentially deadly forces.  It therefore must be important to …

Genetic Engineering and Healthier Soybean Oils

March 30th, 2019


Soybeans are legumes that produce abundant oil.   The oils have been popular for consumers and in food service, but they could have improved …

A GE Salmon Comes to Market

March 23rd, 2019


The transgenic, fast-growing salmon was first developed in 1989.  The goal was simple, use fish genes to remove seasonal growth effects, with the …

The Angry Chef- Food, Fat and Fads

March 16th, 2019


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. He is recognized …

Early Career Scientists – Research and Communication

March 9th, 2019


Today’s graduate students understand that participation in science communication can significantly enhance a scientific career.  While there are challenges, the idea of being willing to share science with the public can …

Plants Engineered to Remediate Military Toxins

March 2nd, 2019


Military preparedness means testing ammunition and ordinates in controlled field trials, as well as decommissioning of obsolete weaponry.  The result …

A Cancer Epidemiologist Discusses Glyphosate Claims

February 21st, 2019


The report saturated the popular media, claims that the herbicide glyphosate increased cancer risk by 41%.  This alarming statistic punctuated news …

Ethos Chocolate – Ingredients from GE Plants

February 16th, 2019


In the days of fear-based food labeling the market has been screaming for a science-friendly alternative.  Ethos Chocolates are distributed for free …

The AAAS Glyphosate Award Controversy

February 9th, 2019


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 …

Bees Delivering Pesticides

January 30th, 2019


The relationship between pollinators and crop protection strategies has always pitted them against each other, with concern about how insecticides …

Genetically Engineered Animals- Regulated as Drugs

January 26th, 2019


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 …

What We Know vs. What We Think We Know

January 19th, 2019


Researchers and communicators in biotechnology have experienced it for a long time– the people that oppose genetic engineering frequently know the …

Help Researchers Save Threatened Forests

January 12th, 2019


Our forests are critical to ecology.  They sequester carbon from human activity, and serve as great resources for renewable building materials, fuels …

Engineering Indoor Air Cleaning Plants

January 5th, 2019


Indoor air is filled with hazardous trace compounds that arise from flooring, furniture, and even showering. While they pose a minor risk, they are present, and more so in our energy efficient homes. Dr. Stuart Strand …

Two Critical Updates – Brinjals and Chestnuts

December 29th, 2018


This week’s podcast features and update on two critical technologies– the Bt Brinjal (eggplant) in Bangladesh and the blight resistant American …

Evolution of Weed Resistance

December 22nd, 2018


Weed resistance is a complex problem with incredible ramifications for agricultural production. It also provides an outstanding opportunity to …

Brockovich’s Deceptive Guardian Article

December 15th, 2018


On December 6, 2018 environmental advocate Erin Brockovich published a high-profile opinion piece in The Guardian.  The piece was laced with scientific inaccuracies and inflammatory rhetoric about glyphosate, indicating …

Biotechnology Outreach and Extension

December 8th, 2018


Dr. Thomas Zinnen has worked with the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service for almost three decades. His principal job has been …

Thoughtful Questions from a Listener

December 1st, 2018


Gary Nolan works in marketing, but enjoys science podcasts, including Talking Biotech.  He also frequently blogs about politics, social trends, and …

Careers in Plant Breeding

November 24th, 2018


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 …

Conflict of Interest

November 17th, 2018


The term “Conflict of Interest” is thrown around a lot these days, mostly to sully reputations or cast doubt on quality research. That perception of …

Supporting Farmers, Fighting “Non-GMO”

November 10th, 2018


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 …

A Look Into the Future of Technology

November 3rd, 2018


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 …

Solving the Animal Feed Problem

October 27th, 2018


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.  This has measurable impacts from the environment to producer costs.  …

Mango Domestication and Diversity

October 20th, 2018


The mango is an incredibly important fruit worldwide, yet little is known about its precise origins or domestication. Today’s podcast explores this important fruit with Dr. Emily Warschefsky, who studied this fruit …

Listener Questions; LaCroix Water Lawsuit

October 13th, 2018


Today’s episode is where Kevin Folta answers common questions from listeners. In the second half, we discuss the recent lawsuit against LaCroix and …

Nitrogen Fixing and Corn

October 6th, 2018


Nitrogen is required for plant growth, and is a significant input in terms of cost and environmental impact. While plants are literally surrounded by nitrogen, it is present in the atmosphere in an unusable form. Some …

Thalidomide- Molecular Mechanism of Action

September 29th, 2018


The drug thalidomide was developed with tremendous promise in managing a variety of disorders, such as anxiety and morning sickness.  However, a few years after its common use it became linked to a suite of birth …

Vanilla Uses, Diversity and Improvement

September 22nd, 2018


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.  But Dr. Alan Chambers knows that crisis and opportunity travel …

Effectiviolgy – Sharpening Critical Thinking Skills

September 15th, 2018


In framing effective discussions about any subject it is important to understand human psychology, and the mistakes we make in debate.  It also is …

Glyphosate Trends in Agriculture

September 8th, 2018


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 …

Transparency vs. Confidentiality

September 1st, 2018


This last week podcast host Kevin Folta found himself in a difficult predicament.  There was palpable outrage by those affiliated with a science …

Malaria, Artemisia and Artemisinin

August 25th, 2018


Malaria is a tremendous world health problem, affecting the lives of hundreds of millions of people in the developing (and industrialized) world. One of the most effective therapies is derived from a natural compound …

Chicken Domestication

August 18th, 2018


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 …

Plant Disease Networks

August 11th, 2018


Plant disease resistance is a complicated arms race between the plant and pathogens.  Bacteria, viruses and fungi evolve in lock-step with plants, …

Psychology, Consumers and Decisions

August 4th, 2018


Dr. David Just studies human behavior and how psychology ties in with economic decisions.  His work at Cornell examines the interesting overlays that …

Aflatoxin, Problems and Solutions

July 28th, 2018


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.  These fungi thrive on corn, …

The Orange-Fleshed Sweet Potato in Africa

July 21st, 2018


The 2016 World Food Prize went to a group that coordinated the breeding, promotion and distribution of the orange-fleshed sweet potato in Africa.  One of person on the team was economist Dr. Jan Low.  The sweet potato …

Barley Domestication and Breeding

July 14th, 2018


Barley is an important grain, with prominent roles as the foundation of bread and beer.  Dr. Sheila Adimargono shares the interesting stories around …

Russia’s GMO Disinformation Campaign

July 7th, 2018


When social scientists examined messaging in new media around GE crops, a few trends became apparent.  Surprising evidence emerged that showed that the Russian Federation is actively participating in a campaign, here in …

Seeds of Science

June 30th, 2018


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 …

Recognizing Dr. Rosalind Franklin

June 23rd, 2018


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

June 16th, 2018


 Mexico is the center of origin for maize, and there is a substantial interest in protecting the genetic integrity of this limited resource.  At the …

Modern Wheat and Celiac Disease

June 9th, 2018


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.  But what does the evidence tell us?  In this …

Food Labeling

June 2nd, 2018


Are food labels adding clarity or confusion?  Focus groups show that consumer sentiment toward food labels is changing.  Colleen Parr-Dekker is the …

Engineering Plant Virus Resistance

May 26th, 2018


Dr. Devang Mehta has been working in virus suppression in cassava, a key food staple in the Developing world.  In this week’s podcast he speaks about the RNAi and gene editing approaches that are used to engineer …

Biotech, Farming and the Developing World

May 19th, 2018


Those that live in the affluent countries of the West have little clue of the challenges of farming in the Developing World.  In this special episode, Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam (@biobeef) of the University of California …

An Extension Agronomist’s View of GE Crops

May 12th, 2018


The Extension arm of the Land Grant University system provides a link between university research and the farm.  Extension specialists are professional liaisons that understand pressing issues, and seek remedies in the …

Indian Suicides and Farmer Debt

May 5th, 2018


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.  In the …

Engineering Functional Foods for Human Health

April 28th, 2018


Dr. Monica Schmidt from the University of Arizona has an interest in using technology to make foods that are better for people.  Elimination of …

Transgenic Plants and Industrial Protein Production

April 21st, 2018


Many important enzymes, industrial and therapeutic proteins are manufactured using transgenic plants.  Plants offer many benefits to protein production over animal cells and microbes for many applications.   In this …

Rice Domestication and Diversity

April 14th, 2018


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 …

Insect Gene Drives (Part 2)

April 7th, 2018


Dr. Jennifer Kuzma received her training in biochemistry, and then later found herself working in social sciences.  She is now the Co-Director of the …

Insect Gene Drives (Part 1)

March 31st, 2018


Gene drives are a powerful technology that may be used to control pests.  The concepts key off of exploiting genetic vulnerabilities that are rapidly …

Pandora’s Picnic Basket; Talking to the Public

March 24th, 2018


Over the long history of biotech crops and microorganisms Dr. Alan McHughen has been part of the conversation.  His 2000 book Pandora’s Picnic Basket  examined the promise and risk of biotech crops. Since then he has …

USAID, Political Stability and Food Security

March 17th, 2018


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 …

Why Sweet Corn is Sweet

March 9th, 2018


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.  Sweet corn was …

Farm Babe Michelle Miller

February 24th, 2018


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, …

Disease Resistant Bananas

February 17th, 2018


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.  Dr. James Dale and his team have identified a banana resistance gene …

Fighting the Fall Army Worm

February 10th, 2018


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.  This pest consumes everything in its path, and can travel many …

GMOs in Milk, Meat and Eggs? / Edited Animals

February 3rd, 2018


Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam is arguably the most effective voice in communication about biotechnology, especially in animals.  In today’s podcast she …

Know Ideas Media, Nick Saik

January 27th, 2018


When we talk about food and farming, Nick Saik has been excited to tell the story through the camera lens.  Nick has built quite an empire by telling …

Pet Vaccines and Pet Foods

January 20th, 2018


Other areas swimming in myth and misinformation involve our pets.  Domesticated animals are part of our lives, and therefore are frequent subjects of …

Haskap Berries; A Lifetime in Plant Breeding

January 13th, 2018


Dr. Maxine Thompson is a trailblazer.  With her education and profound interest in plant breeding, she defied a male-dominated establishment and …

Early Plant Transformation; All Creatures Podcast

January 6th, 2018


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.  It was a time of rapid development of new techniques, and a race to move …

Review, 2018 Directions

December 30th, 2017


In 2017 we recorded 53 new episodes, including guest hosts and a great range of outstanding guests. 2018 has some interesting new edges.  Kevin and …

Control of Aflatoxin in Groundnut

December 23rd, 2017


Groundnut, or peanut, is a major food staple and excellent protein source in many parts of the world.  However, since the nut itself develops in soil, it is prone to fungal infection with Aspergillus flavus, the species …

The Tragic Story of Nikolai Vavilov / Science Moms Documentary

December 16th, 2017


Nikolai Vavilov was a Russian scientist in the early 1900’s.  He was known for his characterization of plants, understanding crop domestication, and …

BONUS TRACK: Dicamba Situation

December 9th, 2017


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. Louis, and heard more information first hand.  I also …

The Dicamba Situation

December 6th, 2017


Over the last two years we have heard reports of herbicide damage to Midwestern crops, bearing the signatures of damage from dicamba.  Dicamba is an …

Seed Company Consolidation

December 2nd, 2017


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 …

Gene Therapies in Pets

November 25th, 2017


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 …

Plant Parasitic Nematodes in Africa

November 18th, 2017


In this week’s podcast Dr. Jonnny Dalzell guest hosts from Tanzania.  He visits with scientists from IITA that are helping devise solutions to …

Gene Editing with TALEN

November 11th, 2017


Gene editing has been the center of attention, affecting everything from plants, to mushrooms, to livestock, to human medicine. However, when we discuss gene editing we typically describe the CRISPR Cas9 system.  Such …

Biotechnology in Bolivia

November 4th, 2017


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

October 28th, 2017


In today’s podcast we speak with science journalist and author Mark Lynas.  Mark has been a central figure in the discussion of biotechnology, …

Biotech and Ugandan Food Security

October 21st, 2017


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

October 14th, 2017


Simple solutions can sometimes have tremendous impacts.  In this episode Bret Rierson from the World Food Programme discusses a solution to enhancing …

RNAi Crop Protection Strategies

October 7th, 2017


The evolution of weed and insect resistance to traditional controls has brought about the need for new approaches in crop protection.  Today’s guest …

Restoring the American Chestnut

September 30th, 2017


The American Chestnut dominated the Appalachian landscape, ranging from Georgia all the way to Maine.  In the late 1800’s a pathogen imported on a …

Genetically Engineered Diamondback Moth

September 23rd, 2017


The diamondback moth is a formidable agricultural pest, causing tremendous losses on farms and requiring significant cultural and chemical-based …

Kevin Folta’s Research and SciComm

September 16th, 2017


Any podcast’s 100th episode is reason to celebrate.  In Talking Biotech’s 100th episode Chris Barbey interviews its originator, Dr. Kevin Folta, …

Glyphosate and Human Health

September 9th, 2017


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 …

Domestication and Radiation of Cats

September 2nd, 2017


Modern cats are a lot like their wild counterparts, with specific traits that were gained through domestication.  Prof. Eva-Maria Geigl is a paleo-geneticist who examines ancient DNA sequences from mummified cat …

Environmental and Economic Impacts of Biotech Crops

August 26th, 2017


The annual report by agricultural economists Brookes and Barfoot is a helpful resource to understand the impacts of agricultural biotechnology.  The …

Biotech Regulatory Affairs

August 19th, 2017


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 …

Imaging Animal Behavior / Targeted for Your Science

August 12th, 2017


Understanding animal stress is important for many reasons.  If we know how the animal brain responds to change it helps us understand habitat …

Bioactive Small RNAs (and the cool paper that wasn’t)

August 5th, 2017


Back in 2012 a paper rocked the scientific community.  The claim was that small RNA molecules in dietary plant products could escape digestion, move …

Ben and Jerry’s Roundup

July 29th, 2017


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.  The anti-biotech universe propagated …

Abiotic Stress Resistance in Soybean/Regulation Consequences

July 22nd, 2017


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.  This episode talks about her …

Early Molecular Biology / Nobel Laureates’ Social Mobilization

July 15th, 2017


Today’s genomics explosion has foundations in seminal discoveries in molecular biology almost 50 years ago.  Today’s guest, Sir Richard Roberts, was …

Collateral Neonic Impacts

July 8th, 2017


Neonicotinoids (neonics) are a class of insecticides based on natural plant compounds that disrupt the insect nervous system. They are used because they have relatively low toxicity on non-insects.  They are applied as …

de novo Domestication

July 1st, 2017


Domestication Dr. Lazaro Peres  De novo domestication also has the potential to expand genetic diversity in crops, potentially conferring additional …

Food Evolution, the Movie

June 21st, 2017


The representation of crop biotechnology in film has been an asymmetrical assault on science and reason.  Food Evolution breaks that trend. The film …

Glyphosate Risk and the IARC Decision

June 17th, 2017


Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, has been used as a non-selective (kills all plants) herbicide since 1970.  It blocks a …

“Know GMO” the Movie

June 10th, 2017


The documentary space is filled with disparaging films about food science, including those that target biotechnology.  Many of these films feature …

Biotech, Forest Restoration and Conservation

June 3rd, 2017


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 …

Crop Genetic Engineering- History and Outlook

May 27th, 2017


While the technologies of genetic engineering are quite commonplace, it was not always the case.  The scientists that blazed the trail hold …

Controlled Environment Agriculture

May 19th, 2017


In the race to feed 10 billion people by 2050 some agricultural production will shift to where people live.  The idea of vertical farms or …

GE Crop Regulation in Uruguay

May 13th, 2017


Uruguay is a major producer of soy and corn from genetically engineered seeds, with over 2.5 million acres in production.  Dr. Paul Vincelli talks …

Potatoes; Past, Present and Future

May 7th, 2017


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 …

Sweet Potato, Nature’s GMO

April 29th, 2017


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.  The sweet potato is botanically distinct from the …

Technology and Society

April 22nd, 2017


The issues of biotechnology benefit from examination from social scientists.  There are scientists that help define the social reaction to science …

Specialty Crops (Fruits, Veggies, & Nuts!)

April 15th, 2017


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, …

Cancer Immunotherapy

April 8th, 2017


The newest and most promising therapies for challenging cancers are adopting molecular-biology strategies.  Brain tumors are especially problematic …

Transgene Flow

April 1st, 2017


This week’s podcast is an important discussion, a cautionary tale of what can happen when genetically-engineered crops are introduced to the environment.  Circumstances may lead to release of the transgene into sexually …

Food Truths- Debunking Myths, Celebrating Abundance

March 25th, 2017


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

March 19th, 2017


Aflatoxins are trace compounds produced by certain fungi, and represent a legitimate food safety risk.  These fungi grow on corn, peanuts and other …

Agriculture, Butterflies and Bees

March 11th, 2017


The effects of farm insect controls on butterflies and bees are important to understand.  Dr. Ric Bessin is an Extension Professor from the …

Your Questions Answered

March 4th, 2017


We get lots of comments that the favorite episodes are when Kevin Folta answers your questions about food, farming, and genetic engineering.  Not to …

The Farmer Voice in Social Media

February 25th, 2017


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, …

Pears; Speeding Tree Production

February 18th, 2017


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 …

Fighting Plant Viruses with RNA – and Clay!

February 11th, 2017


There are no compounds that can be sprayed to fight plant viruses, so plant protection requires managing the insects that spread them.  This means use of insecticides that cost money and have potential impacts, such as …

Brassica oleracea – The Dog of the Plant World

February 4th, 2017


Did you know that broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage are all the same species?  Just like dogs are highly-diverse …

The National Academies Report on Genetic Engineering

January 28th, 2017


The National Academies of Science is one of the most respected scientific organizations on the planet, composed of well-established scientists and …

Adjusting Plant Defenses to New Pathogens

January 21st, 2017


Following on last week’s episode, plants contain a family of genes called “R genes” that play important roles in resistance to disease. They are part …

Plant R Genes and their Applications

January 14th, 2017


Plants contain a family of genes called “R genes” that play important roles in resistance to disease.  Plants and pathogens exist in an evolutionary …

Communicating Effectively with Critics

January 7th, 2017


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. How …

Effective Science Communication in 2017

December 24th, 2016


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.  We took a lot of heat, suffered lots of personal and professional damage and …

DNA Evidence and Dog Domestication

December 17th, 2016


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 …

Terminator Genes! and High School Biotech Outlook

December 10th, 2016


Discussion of biotechnology risks and benefits frequently cites “terminator genes” as a reason to oppose the technology. The fear is that these …

Toward Sustainability: A place for GE in organic production?

December 3rd, 2016


Dr. Mark Williams has extensive training in molecular biology.  He also is interested in sustainable crop production, and leads training in organic …

Engineering Efficiency in Photosynthesis

November 26th, 2016


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 …

Important Clarification on the Glyphosate/Groceries Episode

November 24th, 2016


The last episode contained information about glyphosate that was allegedly detected in common grocery store items.  Today’s podcast is an important …

Glyphosate in Groceries; Hops! The Flavor of Beer

November 19th, 2016


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, …

Corn Origins and Domestication

November 12th, 2016


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 …

Teaching Biotech with Journey of a Gene

November 5th, 2016


The processes of biotechnology can be a bit of a black box, and that does not help further its understanding or acceptance.  Journey of the Gene is …

Nutrition in the First 1000 Days

October 14th, 2016


Beginning at conception, a new human’s development and long-term health are critically dependent on the availablity of proper nutrition.  The right nutrients at the right time can have profound impacts on individuals, …

Peanuts; Talking to Family about GMO

October 8th, 2016


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

October 1st, 2016


The eggplant (brinjal, aubergine) is a curious fruit in western nations, but is an important staple for hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Today’s podcast discusses the eggplant with Dr. Mark Chapman from …

17 Questions About Glyphosate

September 24th, 2016


Talking Biotech #52 visits with Iida Ruishalme, cell biologist, author and blogger.  Iida is a trained scientist that writes the blog …

Weed Killer in Vaccines?

September 17th, 2016


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.  Namely, they …

How to Make a Plant from a Single Cell

September 10th, 2016


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.  The process is as much art as science.  …

Watermelon Domestication, Breeding and Party Tricks; Your Questions

September 3rd, 2016


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.  Dr. Cecilia McGregor …

Eggplants, Brinjals and Aubergines

August 27th, 2016


One of the amazing success stories of genetic engineering is the eggplant, known as the “brinjal” in Asia and the “aubergine” in Europe.  In the west it is occasional table fare, yet in many parts of Asia it is a daily …

Genetic Engineering, Extension and Communication

August 20th, 2016


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 …

Genetics of Depression; Women and Science

August 13th, 2016


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 …

Viral Threats to Coffee

August 6th, 2016


Talking Biotech #45 discusses the viral threats to coffee.  We’re joined by Dr. Michael Goodin, Associate Professor of Plant Pathology from the …

Indian Farmers Suicides 2, Your Questions

July 30th, 2016


Talking Biotech Podcast #44 continues Kavin Senapathy’s interview with Dr. Ronald Herring.  Dr. Herring is a Professor of Government and …

Indian Farmer Suicides

July 23rd, 2016


In discussion of genetically engineered crops  there is frequent reference to farmer suicides in India.  Claims are made that Indian farmers build …

The National Academies Report Summary

July 16th, 2016


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 …

Innovations to Fight Citrus Disease

June 18th, 2016


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 …

Genetic Engineering Forests

June 11th, 2016


Dr. Steve Strauss is a Distinguished Professor of Forestry at Oregon State University.  He has been at the forefront of forest biology and genetic …

What a Plant Knows

June 4th, 2016


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 …

GMO Cheese; Nat’l Academies Review

May 28th, 2016


Chipotle proudly serves it.  The Vermont GMO labeling rules exempt it. Still 95% of cheese is manufactured from enzymes created through recombinant …

Gene Editing Virus Resistant Pigs

May 21st, 2016


The African Swine Fever Virus is a devastating pathogen that leads to fatal disease in domesticated swine.  Scientists at the Roslin Institute led by Prof. Bruce Whitelaw have made an important advance for domestic pig …

Citrus Domestication, Breeding & Challenges

May 14th, 2016


“Citrus” is a term applied to a variety of popular and nutritious fruits, including oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes.  Citrus breeders are …

Exploring the Unnaturally Delicious

May 7th, 2016


This week the Talking Biotech Podcast shares an intriguing discussion with Dr. Jayson Lusk.  Dr. Lusk is an agricultural and food economist at …

Strawberry History and Improvement; Favorite Sites

April 29th, 2016


Strawberry is a popular fruit with tremendous commercial value, and while everyone loves a good strawberry, are they actually getting better? This …

A Weed Solves a Crisis

April 23rd, 2016


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 …

In Search of Celiac-Safe Wheat

April 16th, 2016


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.  With that information, scientists like Dr. …

Coffee Origins, Breeding and Challenges

April 8th, 2016


When we think of the plants that are important to us, we might think right past the magical shrub that gives us coffee berries.  Coffee underpins major economies in the world, has an interesting history, and its …

Glyphosate in Breast Milk and Wine?

April 3rd, 2016


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.  These range from breast milk, to beer, to wine, to potato …

Banana Disease and GE Solutions

March 26th, 2016


Dr. Leena Tripathi is a leader in banana biotechnology, working at IITA in Nairobi, Kenya.  She has been publishing prolifically on a number of …

All About Bt!

March 19th, 2016


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.  They’d either want you to seek counseling, or find out if they can get it …

Cherry Domestication and Breeding, Herbicide Beer?

March 12th, 2016


Cherries are a perennial favorite fruit.  However, they are a tree, so their genetic improvement is slow.  Episode 27 features Dr. Amy Iezzoni, as she discusses cherry genetic origins and efforts to improve cherry …

The Story of GE Papaya, Helping People Save an Industry

March 5th, 2016


The story of how genetic engineering saved the Hawaiian papaya industry gets lost in the discussion of agronomic crop uses of the technology.  This …

Beautiful GMOs and the Not-So-Dirty Dozen

February 26th, 2016


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 …

Biotech & Tomato Breeding – Social Media on the Farm

February 20th, 2016


Improving plants with biotechnology is not just genetic engineering, it is using tools of molecular biology and genomics to guide traditional …

Innovative Approaches of the Future Farm Project 2050

October 31st, 2015


Several weeks ago there was a request for Talking Biotech Podcast to interview Prof Graeme Martin.  Prof Martin has a long career in animal …

Cassava 2, History, Domestication; Biotech Virus Resistance

October 24th, 2015


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.  Yet …

Solutions for Cassava – Biofortification and Characterizing Disease Vectors

October 17th, 2015


Cassava (Manihot esculentum) is a critical world food crop, the third most consumed staple outside of rice and maize.  It is even more critical …

An Experiment You can Do With Us; Sugar Beet Breeding and Biology

October 10th, 2015


This eThis episode of Talking Biotech invites you to be the investigator and data collector.  The internet is littered with images that claim animals …

The SciBabe Talks Toxins; Your Questions Answered

October 3rd, 2015


Today chemophobia rules supreme.  From fast-food establishments to farming critics, everyone seems to be an expert, except the experts!
Talking …

Insecticides, Herbicides, Organic and Conventional Ag

September 26th, 2015


The topic of “pesticides” is the new frontier in the opposition to agricultural biotechnology.  Opponents of the technology blame new genetic …

Biotech, Ag and Insects; Promoting Art with Science; Barbara on the Bill

September 19th, 2015


This week we’re joined by Richard Levine, communications director for the Entomological Society of America.  We discuss bees, butterflies, …

Biotechnology in Uganda; Reflections on a Public Discussion

September 12th, 2015


This week features two discussions with fellows serving in the Global Leadership Program of the Cornell Alliance for Science.  The first part is a discussion with Nassib Mugwanya, Outreach Leader for the Ugandan …

Tomatoes! Innovative Breeding and a Biotech Solution

September 5th, 2015


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 …

Biotech Solution to Citrus Greening Disease; Your Questions Answered

August 29th, 2015


This week’s Talking Biotech features discussion of Huanglongbing (HLB) also known as Citrus Greening Disease.  The disease is devastating Florida citrus, and is causing a massive hardship on the State’s iconic …

Kevin Folta — Monsanto Outreach Support, FOIA, Transparency

August 23rd, 2015


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 …

Genetically Modified Mosquito Control – Careers in Plant Breeding

August 15th, 2015


This week’s podcast discusses Kevin Folta’s public records situation for 60 seconds.

That is followed by a talk with Dr. Andrew McKemey from Oxitec in …

Success or Failure? Good Study Called Bad, Bad Study Called Gold.

August 1st, 2015


This week’s podcast is an important analysis of two published reports. First, the results from the famous Rothamstead wheat trial show that their …

Saving the American Chestnut; Lettuce History and Modern Improvement

July 25th, 2015


This Talking Biotech Podcast features Dr. William Powell from SUNY, where he is co-Director of the American Chestnut Research and Restoration Project.  The American Chestnut was a dominant forest tree in Appalachia …

Don’t Let Dr. Oz Tell YOUR Story– Teaching the Public about Farming

July 21st, 2015


Ag professionals know their businesses and on-farm practices better than anyone. However, they don’t tend to share their story in public space, …

Sustainable Salmon; All ‘Bout Bananas

July 17th, 2015


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. This means the same amount of …

Stopping Avian Flu Spread; Potato Origins

July 11th, 2015


This episode of Talking Biotech features stories of genetically engineered chickens that do not spread the avian influenza virus. This year over 45 million birds have died or have been euthanized because of illness from …

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Engage your fanbase

  • Deliver timely Calls To Action, including email acquistion for your mailing list
  • Share exactly the right moment in an episode via text, email, and social media
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Make money

  • Tip and transfer funds directly to podcastsers
  • Earn money for qualified plays in the RadioPublic apps with Paid Listens