Fall Chrysanthemum Show Opening Lecture

Friday, November 3, 2017
Campus Center Carroll Room

Who Put Those Genes in My Food??  Facts and Myths About “GMOs” 

by Margaret Smith, PhD., Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University

7:30 pm, Campus Center Carroll Room, followed by a reception at the Lyman Plant House and a preview of the Chrysanthemum Show in the illuminated Lyman Conservatory

Genetically engineered crops (so-called “GMOs”) have generated much controversy in recent years. People have raised issues of legitimate concern, but also concerns that are misguided at best and completely inaccurate at worst.  This presentation highlights common concerns about genetically engineered crops including what types are grown, how much area they occupy, farm-level impacts of their adoption, food and feed safety, who “owns” these traits, and the debate about labeling. Margaret Smith will summarize the relevant scientific information about these concerns and point out which concerns are questions of public values rather than scientific issues.  The goal is to help listeners better understand genetically engineered crops and to provide clear, objective, and factual information that they can use to form their own opinions.

Margaret Smith joined the Cornell faculty in 1987 in plant breeding and genetics.  Since 2008 she has served as the associate director of the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, and devoted the other half of her time to research and extension in plant breeding.  Her research is primarily on field corn and emphasizes breeding for yield and adaptation in New York growing conditions, improving insect and disease resistance, and breeding for organic systems.  As the extension leader for plant breeding and genetics, Margaret conducts educational programs on crop varieties and seeds for agricultural audiences, and on crop genetic engineering for a wide range of public audiences.