4 episodes

From CRISPR gene-edited embryos to GMO crops, biotechnology is revolutionizing medicine and farming. Scientists are increasingly able to make targeted genetic tweaks to humans, plants and animals to combat our most urgent global challenges—including hunger, disease, aging and climate change. Sadly, scientific misinformation spreads like cancer through social media and partisan blogs. Where can you turn for trustworthy analysis of groundbreaking biotechnology innovations independent of ideological bias? Who can you trust? Join the Genetic Literacy Project and our world-renowned experts as we explore the brave new world of human genetics, biomedicine, farming and food.

Science Facts & Fallacies Cameron English

    • Science
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

From CRISPR gene-edited embryos to GMO crops, biotechnology is revolutionizing medicine and farming. Scientists are increasingly able to make targeted genetic tweaks to humans, plants and animals to combat our most urgent global challenges—including hunger, disease, aging and climate change. Sadly, scientific misinformation spreads like cancer through social media and partisan blogs. Where can you turn for trustworthy analysis of groundbreaking biotechnology innovations independent of ideological bias? Who can you trust? Join the Genetic Literacy Project and our world-renowned experts as we explore the brave new world of human genetics, biomedicine, farming and food.

    GLP Podcast: Smoking prevents COVID? CRISPR and nuclear weapons; Bayer wins first glyphosate case

    GLP Podcast: Smoking prevents COVID? CRISPR and nuclear weapons; Bayer wins first glyphosate case

    Smokers appear to face a reduced risk of catching COVID-19. Does their deadly habit offer them some sort of protection? CRISPR crops may mimic nature, but that doesn't mean they should evade strict regulation, a team of researchers argues. After losing several expensive lawsuits, Bayer has finally successfully defended its Roundup weedkiller against a claim that it causes cancer.









    Join geneticist Kevin Folta and GLP contributor Cameron English on this episode of Science Facts and Fallacies as they break down these latest news stories:







    * Smokers are less likely to get COVID: French researchers explore whether nicotine might prevent transmission



    A new study adds to the growing body of epidemiological evidence that smokers are less likely to catch COVID-19. In a region of France with high smoking rates, the researchers found that non-smokers faced a 400 percent higher risk of illness than smokers. Does something in tobacco smoke, perhaps nicotine, offer protection against the deadly SARS-COV-2 virus?



    * Viewpoint: CRISPR gene edited crops ‘mimic nature’ — but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be regulated



    Many advocates of CRISPR gene editing have defended the technology, in part, by arguing that it mimics natural processes that induce mutations in the DNA of plants and animals. Critics of the new breeding technique aren't impressed. Who cares, they ask, if CRISPR approximates nature? That has no bearing on the risk the technology poses and, as a result, how it should be regulated. Nuclear weapons are natural in many ways, critics claim in comparison, yet we tightly regulate them. Does this argument stand up to scrutiny?



    * Bayer claims first victory in glyphosate litigation, as jury rejects claim weedkiller caused a child’s non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma



    Bayer has been pummeled in court over the last few years. Three plaintiffs have convinced as many juries that the company's glyphosate-based Roundup weedkillers caused their non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, though there is no evidence to support that charge. Those losses, two of which Bayer has appealed to the US Supreme Court, forced the company to settle 96,000 similar  lawsuits.

























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    Earlier this month, however, Bayer won its first case.

    • 36 min
    GLP podcast: Scrutinizing anti-GMO ‘rock star’ Vandana Shiva’s recent ‘Earth Democracy’ lecture

    GLP podcast: Scrutinizing anti-GMO ‘rock star’ Vandana Shiva’s recent ‘Earth Democracy’ lecture

    Last week, high-profile anti-GMO activist Vandana Shiva lectured (via zoom) at the University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC). Amplifying the thesis of her book Earth Democracy, Shiva gave a meandering presentation about "her ideals for the planet Earth: our connection to it, the effects of corporate globalization on it, and the importance of protecting it and being sustained by it."



    The scientific community blasted UMKC for inviting Shiva and paying her somewhere between $40,000 and $100,000 for an hour-long presentation. The university effectively subsidized the spread of demonstrable nonsense under the guise of promoting social justice and environmentalism. An open letter to the school's chancellor signed by dozens of experts outline the problems with Shiva's inflammatory rhetoric, including her habit of comparing GE crop cultivation to rape:

    She compares farmers, who grow crops which are scientifically and legally recognized as safe, to rapists! It’s a grotesque insult to millions of honest workers who use modern technologies to farm more sustainably and efficiently. Understandably, her outrageous abuse raised many angry reactions ....

    Shiva's UMKC lecture raises a number of crucial questions about the role universities and other public institutions play in sustaining fringe environmental activism. Should taxpayer-subsidized schools spend a king's ransom on speakers who promulgate dubious ideas? Should activists so far outside the scientific mainstream even be allowed on university campuses? There must be some way to balance an individual's right to free speech against the potentially harmful impacts of their message. How do we do it?



    Join geneticist Kevin Folta and GLP contributor Cameron English on this episode of Science Facts and Fallacies as they answer these questions and examine Shiva's UMKC lecture.







    Recommended Twitter follows: @drvandanashiva and @David Zaruk



    Kevin M. Folta is a professor, keynote speaker and podcast host. Follow Professor Folta on Twitter @kevinfolta



    Cameron J. English is the director of bio-sciences at the American Council on Science and Health. Visit his website and follow ACSH on Twitter @ACSHorg

    • 34 min
    GLP Podcast: CRISPR-edited tomatoes debut in Japan; Regulating bogus supplements; Underwater farming is here

    GLP Podcast: CRISPR-edited tomatoes debut in Japan; Regulating bogus supplements; Underwater farming is here

    CRISPR-edited, hypertension-fighting tomatoes are on sale in Japan. Dishonestly marketed supplements continue to evade FDA regulation. Why doesn't the agency act? We can now grow food at the bottom of the ocean. Yes, really. Is this a new avenue for sustainable farming?







    Join geneticist Kevin Folta and GLP contributor Cameron English on this episode of Science Facts and Fallacies as they break down these latest news stories:



    * Japan ushers in CRISPR gene edited food revolution as hypertension-reducing tomato now on sale







    Japan has commercialized its first CRISPR-edited crop, a tomato that produces higher levels of the amino acid GABA. The genetically engineered fruit is expected to help consumers reduce their blood pressure, and thus their risk of stroke and heart disease. Anti-GMO groups have criticized Japanese regulators for allowing an "untested" product on the market. Does this objection stand up to scrutiny?



    * Clinically proven’ memory-boosting supplements like Prevagen don’t work. So how do they escape FDA crackdown?



    The shelves of America's pharmacies are stocked with a wide variety of supplements. The problem is, many of these products don't live up to their marketing claims, and sometimes contain potentially dangerous ingredients. The FDA has thus far refused to step in and protect consumers. The agency has no problem regulating other industries when they step out of line, so why not the supplement industry as well?

























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    * Underwater farming? Biosphere grows strawberries, basil and lettuce deep in the Mediterranean



    We grow food in the dirt, in the lab, in outer space—and now under water. Observing all the untapped real estate under the ocean surface, a few enterprising scuba divers are beginning to grow fruits and vegetables in underwater greenhouses. The idea, as with any new farming method, is to reduce the resources necessary to grow food. Is this a viable food-production technique or hype?



    Recommended Twitter follow: @DrLizaMD and @Sarah_Mojarad



    Kevin M. Folta is a professor in the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida. Follow Professor Folta on Twitter a href="https://twitter.com/kevinfolta" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer external nofollow" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://twitter.

    • 31 min
    GLP Podcast: Don’t fight science denial like this; CO2-sucking GE trees; Organic industry hates hydroponics

    GLP Podcast: Don’t fight science denial like this; CO2-sucking GE trees; Organic industry hates hydroponics

    A new book outlines a method for changing the minds of "science deniers"—and it's terrible, according to a particularly harsh review. Genetically engineered trees may be a doubly effective climate change solution, because they could boost carbon sequestration while helping to produce more lumber on less land. The organic food industry is on the warpath against hydroponic farming, which it sees as a serious threat to its ideological outlook on sustainable growing.







    Join geneticist Kevin Folta and GLP contributor Cameron English on this episode of Science Facts and Fallacies as they break down these latest news stories:



    * Viewpoint: Hoping to change minds of ‘science deniers’ — from vaccine skeptics to GMOs rejectionists? Don’t use the tactics offered in this patronizing new book



    In order to change someone's mind, you have to sympathize with them, demonstrate that you understand their concerns and take them seriously. How To Talk To A Science Denier, Harvard philosopher Lee McIntyre's new book, is based on this fundamental lesson of science communication, yet the author fails to apply it as he interacts with people who are skeptical of climate change, GMOs and other established theories and technologies. According to one reviewer, the book is a better example how not to talk to a science denier.



    * Genetically engineered trees offer dual sustainability benefits: Carbon sequestration boosts and the ability to grow more trees on less land



    GE trees that suck excess carbon out of the atmosphere and produce more lumber on the same amount of acreage look like a promising weapon in the battle against climate change. But there are some logistical challenges that remain to be solved, and, as always, public opposition poses a potentially serious roadblock to the technology. Can we overcome these difficulties as we work to keep earth's temperature in check?

























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    * Dismissing sizable sustainability benefits, organic industry petitions USDA to block hydroponics from being classified as organic



    Organic agriculture centers around fostering healthy soil. Since hydroponic growing methods require no soil, you may think pro-organic activists would welcome hydroponics with open arms—but you'd be wrong. Seasoned anti-GMO groups like the Center For Food Safety see this burgeoning sector of agriculture as a threat...

    • 33 min

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KaCaMcD ,

Another podcast with Kevin folta? Awesome

Insightful discussion into important science topics. Cultivating science literacy in a digestible and interesting way.

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