Latest Podcasts
December 15, 2017
Agriculture

112.5 – BONUS TRACK: Dicamba Situation

December 9, 2017 0

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 […]

Agriculture

112 – The Dicamba Situation

December 6, 2017 0

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 older herbicide, an auxin analog that mimics a plant hormone […]

Agriculture

111 – Seed Company Consolidation

December 2, 2017 0

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 markets.  After the 1980’s, there has been great consolidation in […]

Animals

110 – Gene Therapies in Pets

November 25, 2017 0

 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 and proof-of-concept road ahead of them, leading to slow development and […]

Agriculture

109 – Plant Parasitic Nematodes in Africa

November 18, 2017 0

In this week’s podcast Dr. Jonnny Dalzell guest hosts from Tanzania.  He visits with scientists from IITA that are helping devise solutions to nematodes.  Nematodes are microscopic soil worms that are difficult to control and […]

Agriculture

108 – Gene Editing with TALEN

November 11, 2017 0

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 tools have […]

Agriculture

107 – Biotechnology in Bolivia

November 4, 2017 0

Bolivia shares farming similarities with other South American countries.  They have diverse land races and native crops that they wish to preserve. At the same time some wish to take advantage of modern genetic tools.  […]

Agriculture

106 – Food Security, Biotech, NGOs and Africa

October 28, 2017 3

  In today’s podcast we speak with science journalist and author Mark Lynas.  Mark has been a central figure in the discussion of biotechnology, particularly in regard to its role in ensuring food security in […]

Agriculture

105 – Biotech and Ugandan Food Security

October 21, 2017 4

Uganda is at an interesting precipice.  They have invested in biotech solutions to solve problems in their central food staples, namely the matooke.  The matooke is a starchy banana, and while a cornerstone of the […]

Agriculture

104 – Postharvest Solutions in Food Security

October 14, 2017 0

Simple solutions can sometimes have tremendous impacts.  In this episode Bret Rierson from the World Food Programme discusses a solution to enhancing food security in Africa and around the world.  Most African farmers are small […]

Agriculture

103 – RNAi Crop Protection Strategies

October 7, 2017 0

The evolution of weed and insect resistance to traditional controls has brought about the need for new approaches in crop protection.  Today’s guest is Dr. Doug Sammons (@wiltedweeds) is a biochemist from the Monsanto Company.  […]

Breeding

102 – Restoring the American Chestnut

September 30, 2017 0

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 tree to the Bronx Zoo spread rapidly into wild populations, destroying […]

Agriculture

101 – Genetically Engineered Diamondback Moth

September 23, 2017 0

The diamondback moth is a formidable agricultural pest, causing tremendous losses on farms and requiring significant cultural and chemical-based management on both conventional and organic farms.  Dr. Tony Shelton has studied the diamonback moth for […]

Agriculture

100 – Kevin Folta’s Research and SciComm

September 16, 2017 0

Any podcast’s 100th episode is reason to celebrate.  In Talking Biotech’s 100th episode Chris Barbey interviews its originator, Dr. Kevin Folta, Professor and Chairman of the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida.  They […]

Agriculture

099 – Glyphosate and Human Health

September 9, 2017 11

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 areas and around the home.  It has been approved […]

Animals

098 – Domestication and Radiation of Cats

September 2, 2017 0

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 remains, and has reconstructed […]

Agriculture

097 – Environmental and Economic Impacts of Biotech Crops

August 26, 2017 1

   The annual report by agricultural economists Brookes and Barfoot is a helpful resource to understand the impacts of agricultural biotechnology.  The peer-reviewed report is dense, and contains substantial information about crop use, yields, production […]

Food

093 – Ben and Jerry’s Roundup

July 29, 2017 2

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 the […]

Agriculture

090 – Collateral Neonic Impacts

July 8, 2017 0

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 seed coatings, […]

Agriculture

089 – de novo Domestication

July 1, 2017 0

Domestication Dr. Lazaro Peres    De novo domestication also has the potential to expand genetic diversity in crops, potentially conferring additional roles in food security.   Like the podcast?  Please subscribe and write a review!  Stitcher […]

Agriculture

088 — Food Evolution, the Movie

June 21, 2017 0

The representation of crop biotechnology in film has been an asymmetrical assault on science and reason.  Food Evolution breaks that trend. The film tells several stories of biotech applications, where “GMO” crops are the centers […]

Agriculture

087 – Glyphosate Risk and the IARC Decision

June 17, 2017 1

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, has been used as a non-selective (kills all plants) herbicide since 1970.  It blocks a necessary step in plant metabolism and the plant dies, yet it has […]

Communication

086 – “Know GMO” the Movie

June 10, 2017 0

The documentary space is filled with disparaging films about food science, including those that target biotechnology.  Many of these films feature artistic flair, and tell a compelling story through the lens of the camera– even […]

Agriculture

083 – Controlled Environment Agriculture

May 19, 2017 0

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 repurposing urban space for agriculture is becoming increasingly feasible, as […]

Agriculture

082 – GE Crop Regulation in Uruguay

May 13, 2017 0

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 about the regulatory framework in Uruguay with Dr. Alejandra Ferenczi, Head […]

Agriculture

81 – Potatoes; Past, Present and Future

May 7, 2017 0

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 exploited, and potato breeders are folding that into modern germplasm […]

Agriculture

80 – Sweet Potato, Nature’s GMO

April 29, 2017 0

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 […]

Communication

079 – Technology and Society

April 22, 2017 0

The issues of biotechnology benefit from examination from social scientists.  There are scientists that help define the social reaction to science and the way that scientists need to communicate issues in technology.  Dr. Matthew Harsh is […]

Agriculture

078 – Specialty Crops (Fruits, Veggies, & Nuts!)

April 15, 2017 0

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, things like […]

Genetic Engineering

077 — Cancer Immunotherapy

April 8, 2017 4

The newest and most promising therapies for challenging cancers are adopting molecular-biology strategies.  Brain tumors are especially problematic because of their location impedes patient function and presents formidable barriers to surgical treatments.  But new molecular […]

Agriculture

076 – Transgene Flow

April 1, 2017 0

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 compatible wild plants, […]

Agriculture

074 – Decreased Fungal Food Toxins with RNAi

March 19, 2017 0

Aflatoxins are trace compounds produced by certain fungi, and represent a legitimate food safety risk.  These fungi grow on corn, peanuts and other crops, especially in warm, humid areas that lack fungal control measures.  They have […]

Agriculture

073 – Agriculture, Butterflies and Bees

March 11, 2017 0

  The effects of farm insect controls on butterflies and bees are important to understand.  Dr. Ric Bessin is an Extension Professor from the University of Kentucky is an entomologist that has studied this relationship. […]

Agriculture

072 – Your Questions Answered

March 4, 2017 7

We get lots of comments that the favorite episodes are when Kevin Folta answers your questions about food, farming, and genetic engineering.  Not to disappoint, this entire episode is dedicated to your questions. Except for […]

Agriculture

071 – The Farmer Voice in Social Media

February 25, 2017 0

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, because companies controlled their farms. Tell that to […]

Agriculture

070 – Pears; Speeding Tree Production

February 18, 2017 0

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 varieties. […]

Agriculture

069 – Fighting Plant Viruses with RNA – and Clay!

February 11, 2017 1

   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, […]

Agriculture

067 – The National Academies Report on Genetic Engineering

January 28, 2017 0

The National Academies of Science is one of the most respected scientific organizations on the planet, composed of well-established scientists and other scholars that perform important functions in vetting scientific claims and steering scientific agendas […]

Genetic Engineering

066 – Adjusting Plant Defenses to New Pathogens

January 21, 2017 0

  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 of an evolutionary arms race between plants and pathogens. […]

Agriculture

065 — Plant R Genes and their Applications

January 14, 2017 0

Plants contain a family of genes called “R genes” that play important roles in resistance to disease.  Plants and pathogens exist in an evolutionary arms race, each developing new means to attack or defend against the […]

Communication

064 – Communicating Effectively with Critics

January 7, 2017 3

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 we address this is critical to our own […]

Communication

063 Effective Science Communication in 2017

December 24, 2016 0

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 […]

Animals

062 DNA Evidence and Dog Domestication

December 17, 2016 0

  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 companions.  Prof. Greger Larson applies the lessons […]

Agriculture

061 Terminator Genes! and High School Biotech Outlook

December 10, 2016 0

Discussion of biotechnology risks and benefits frequently cites “terminator genes” as a reason to oppose the technology. The fear is that these plants contain genetic information that can release widespread plant sterility, leading to the […]

Agriculture

059 Engineering Efficiency in Photosynthesis

November 26, 2016 0

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 team led by Dr. Stephen Long from the University of Illinois/University […]

Agriculture

057 Corn Origins and Domestication

November 12, 2016 1

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 fuel in our […]

Communication

056 Teaching Biotech with Journey of a Gene

November 5, 2016 0

 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 an interactive, multimedia resource that can aid in […]

Food

055 Nutrition in the First 1000 Days

October 14, 2016 0

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, but also have […]

Agriculture

054 Peanuts; Talking to Family about GMO

October 8, 2016 2

The peanut is a valuable crop for American farmers and is extensively cultivated worldwide.  It is an important source of protein and healthy oils.  At the same time the public is concerned about peanut allergies and […]

Agriculture

052 — 17 Questions About Glyphosate

September 24, 2016 10

  Talking Biotech #52 visits with Iida Ruishalme, cell biologist, author and blogger.  Iida is a trained scientist that writes the blog Thoughtscapism.  Recently she published a comprehensive assessment of the frequently-asked questions regarding the […]

Agriculture

051 Weed Killer in Vaccines?

September 17, 2016 13

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 seek to find glyphosate, the […]

Agriculture

050 How to Make a Plant from a Single Cell

September 10, 2016 2

  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 […]

Agriculture

048 Eggplants, Brinjals and Aubergines

August 27, 2016 4

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 […]

Agriculture

047 Genetic Engineering, Extension and Communication

August 20, 2016 0

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 into discussion of climate change.  So how do scientists learn to […]

Human Health

046 Genetics of Depression; Women and Science

August 13, 2016 6

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 only is studying science, but she’s also studying how to communicate […]

Agriculture

045 Viral Threats to Coffee

August 6, 2016 0

Talking Biotech #45 discusses the viral threats to coffee.  We’re joined by Dr. Michael Goodin, Associate Professor of Plant Pathology from the University of Kentucky.   Coffee viruses are important threats to sustainable production.  They […]

Agriculture

044 Indian Farmers Suicides 2, Your Questions

July 30, 2016 3

Talking Biotech Podcast #44 continues Kavin Senapathy’s interview with Dr. Ronald Herring.  Dr. Herring is a Professor of Government and International Professor of Agriculture and Rural Development at Cornell University. Dr. Herring is a social scientist […]

Agriculture

043 Indian Farmer Suicides

July 23, 2016 1

  In discussion of genetically engineered crops  there is frequent reference to farmer suicides in India.  Claims are made that Indian farmers build massive debt for cotton seeds, they become beholden to Monsanto for the […]

Communication

042 The National Academies Report Summary

July 16, 2016 5

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 literature. […]

Agriculture

041 Innovations to Fight Citrus Disease

June 18, 2016 0

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 new solutions that define the forefront of genetic […]

Agriculture

040 Genetic Engineering Forests

June 11, 2016 0

Dr. Steve Strauss is a Distinguished Professor of Forestry at Oregon State University.  He has been at the forefront of forest biology and genetic engineering of trees, contributing greatly to the understanding of fundamental tree […]

Agriculture

039 What a Plant Knows

June 4, 2016 1

  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 agricultural research enterprise.  He discusses his book, What a Plant Knows […]

Food

038 GMO Cheese; Nat’l Academies Review

May 28, 2016 4

Chipotle proudly serves it.  The Vermont GMO labeling rules exempt it. Still 95% of cheese is manufactured from enzymes created through recombinant DNA technology. These GMO-derived enzymes are tremendously beneficial to the process.  Young cow […]

Agriculture

037 Gene Editing Virus Resistant Pigs

May 21, 2016 1

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 […]

Agriculture

036 Citrus Domestication, Breeding & Challenges

May 14, 2016 0

“Citrus” is a term applied to a variety of popular and nutritious fruits, including oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes.  Citrus breeders are tasked with improving the varieties, which takes decades.  Still, great progress has been […]

Agriculture

035 Exploring the Unnaturally Delicious

May 7, 2016 1

This week the Talking Biotech Podcast shares an intriguing discussion with Dr. Jayson Lusk.  Dr. Lusk is an agricultural and food economist at Oklahoma State University.  He has analyzed many facets of consumer choices, consumer […]

Agriculture

034 Strawberry History and Improvement; Favorite Sites

April 29, 2016 1

Strawberry is a popular fruit with tremendous commercial value, and while everyone loves a good strawberry, are they actually getting better? This week’s podcast talks to Dr. Jim Hancock, strawberry breeder from Michigan State University. […]

Agriculture

033 A Weed Solves a Crisis

April 23, 2016 0

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 sustainable and highly profitable rubber production.  A growing […]

Agriculture

032 In Search of Celiac-Safe Wheat

April 16, 2016 0

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. […]

Agriculture

031 Coffee Origins, Breeding and Challenges

April 8, 2016 2

   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 […]

Agriculture

030 Glyphosate in Breast Milk and Wine?

April 3, 2016 4

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, […]

Agriculture

025 — Beautiful GMOs and the Not-So-Dirty Dozen

February 26, 2016 1

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 in using the power of plants to introduce the public […]

Agriculture

024 Biotech & Tomato Breeding – Social Media on the Farm

February 20, 2016 4

Improving plants with biotechnology is not just genetic engineering, it is using tools of molecular biology and genomics to guide traditional breeding strategies.  In this episode Dr. Harry Klee from the University of Florida discusses […]

Podcast List

Podcast Returns February 20.

January 8, 2016 4

After a too-long hiatus new episodes will be posted.  Wonderful guests talk about papaya, ornamentals, muscular dystrophy and many other topics.  Hope you’ll listen and share with friends.

Podcast List

Bad News

November 4, 2015 24

With a most heavy heart I have to report that the recent events have bled into this forum, and I have to suspend delivery of this podcast. I’m very touched by all of your interest […]

Communication

019 The SciBabe Talks Toxins; Your Questions Answered

October 3, 2015 2

Today chemophobia rules supreme.  From fast-food establishments to farming critics, everyone seems to be an expert, except the experts! Talking Biotech #19 features The SciBabe, Yvette d’Entremont (@TheSciBabe).  She has experience in the chemical industries […]

Agriculture

018 Insecticides, Herbicides, Organic and Conventional Ag

September 26, 2015 1

The topic of “pesticides” is the new frontier in the opposition to agricultural biotechnology.  Opponents of the technology blame new genetic improvement methods for perceived increases in chemical controls for plant, animal and fungal pests. […]

Agriculture

008 Sustainable Salmon; All ‘Bout Bananas

July 17, 2015 7

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 […]

Agriculture

007 Stopping Avian Flu Spread; Potato Origins

July 11, 2015 1

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 […]

Agriculture

006 Misrepresenting Real Science; Carrots- Past and Future

July 4, 2015 8

  Several trends are present in the anti-ag-biotech literature.  First, many papers are poorly done, present opinion without data, or overstep the data accumulated. These papers appear in low-impact journals, oftentimes without peer review, and […]

Agriculture

005 Talking Biotech in Washington DC

July 2, 2015 1

This week’s Talking Biotech discusses a recent trek to Washington DC, where Kevin Folta, Chris Barbey and Alejandra Abril Guevara answered questions for the US House Science, Technology and Space Committee.  The three has a […]

Agriculture

004 Non Browning Apples; the Story of Cotton

June 27, 2015 0

This week’s podcast features an interview with Neal Carter from Okanagan Specialty Fruits.  His biotech megacorporation of eight employees has developed the Arctic Apple, a product where a gene central to the browning reaction has […]

Agriculture

002 Engineering Hornless Cows; Blueberry Origins

June 14, 2015 1

  This episode of Talking Biotech features Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam from the University of California at Davis.  She is a Cooperative Extension Specialist working in genetic improvement of cattle.  Dr. Van Eenennaam discusses the […]

Communication

001 Introduction, and Sleuth4Health Julee K

June 13, 2015 10

This pilot episode is an introduction to the talking biotech podcast.  Special Guest, Sleuth4Health Julee K.  Julee’s blog was well recognized for its anti-GMO sentiment.  However, after time she made gradual realizations that led her […]

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Podcast List

The Talking Biotech Podcast is Live!

June 12, 2015 2

The Talking Biotech Podcast is a podcast dedicated to content on the topic of biotechnology. These powerful methods have been extremely useful in medicine and agriculture, and hold great potential for the future.  Despite their promise, there […]