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DNA at the Dinnertable: the Global Politics of Genetically Modified Food
Wednesday, November 3, 2010 - 7:30pm

Presented by: Lisa Weasel
Biology, Portland State University
Sigma Xi Distinguished National Lecturer
Wednesday, November 3, 2010, 7:30 pm
Mago Hunt Recital Hall
University of Portland

More than a decade ago, genetically modified foods made their debut in farmers' fields and on grocery store shelves. While Americans greeted this technological intervention with passive acceptance and adoption of such crops flourished in the U.S., European consumers and farmers alike were quick to recoil against what many saw as an unnatural and unnecessary intrusion into the realm of food and feed. When genetically modified corn grown on U.S. soil made its way to Africa in the form of food aid in 2003, it ignited widespread debates over the ethics and integrity of biotechnology as a solution to world hunger, posing questions that remain unresolved today. Although genetically modified crops are now approved and grown in 25 countries and more than two thirds of American supermarket products contain genetically modified ingredients, global public and policy debates over the appropriate uses and regulation of this technology are far from resolved; indeed the extent of their adoption is raising new questions, particularly in the realm of environmental sustainability. This presentation will provide historical perspective, social context, and ethical insights into the science and technology associated with genetically modified foods.

Lisa Weasel received an A.B. magna cum laude in Biology from Harvard, and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Cambridge. Her postdoctoral work included training in social science research and methodologies. Her current research interests are centered on the social dimensions of science and technology, particularly ethics and equity issues relating to the life sciences. Her scholarly work encompasses a broad range of interdisciplinary topics, from feminist science studies and gender equity, to public engagement with science, to the relationship between biotechnology and sustainable agriculture and food security in the developing world. She is the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including a National Science Foundation CAREER Award for her interdisciplinary research investigating debates surrounding agricultural biotechnology in a global context. Her recent book, Food Fray: Inside the Controversy over Genetically Modified Food, received the 2009 Green Book Festival Prize for Best Scientific Book.

Sponsored by: Sigma Xi Columbia-Willamette Chapter