A University of Kentucky Plant Pathology Specialist envisions a day when genetic engineering for certain crops will be expected and not questioned. Dr. Paul Vincelli participated in last week’s Kentucky Fruit and Vegetable Conference in Lexington.
Vincelli says studies are showing genetic modification can greatly reduce aflatoxins in a crop like corn. Aflatoxins, naturally produced by certain molds, are among the most carcinogenic substances known. Vincelli believes such genetic engineering could have particular significance in developing countries.
“Their risk of aflatoxin is quite a bit higher than ours in the United States, so that’s just one example where the cancer risk can actually be reduced by genetic engineering,” said Vincelli.
Vincelli says in the U.S. steps are taken to segregate out any crops with aflatoxin. The UK coordinator of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program says genetic engineering can also help to lessen the need for pesticides and herbicides.
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