Flash Seminars are one time mini-classes that seek to bring together faculty, students, and community members in small, informal settings to explore ideas and issues outside the formal classroom. Seminars are announced a week in advance and held in locations around the University of Virginia and the surrounding Charlottesville area. Sign up below to attend a seminar!
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Morven Summer Institute Series: Transgenics, Saving Lives,
Feeding People, and (Possibly) Destroying the World
Co-Sponsored by the Morven Summer Institute
Led by Manuel Lerdau, Professor of Environmental Sciences and Biology
Thursday, April 22 @ 5:30
Over 8,000 years ago, Sumerians first genetically modified a food crop, turning emmer wheat, with its seed coat and small seed into the direct ancestor of domestic wheat. How they accomplished this feat remains one of the grand mysteries in the history of food. More recently, 33 years ago to be exact, a now defunct company named Calgene took advantage of new technology and grew the first food crop that had received the directed genetic transformation. The last three decades have seen hype, hyperbole, fierce argument, and some exciting science as agricultural companies have sought to increase profit from these technologies, foundations have sought to reduce hunger and malnutrition, and consumers have wondered what the heck is going on. This Flash Seminar will review the history of the genetic transformation of food, discuss some of the risks and benefits of directed transformation, and suggest a way forward to balance well justified concerns and clearly obvious potentials.