Understanding the Science & Controversy behind Biotechnology & Transgenics || Dr. Kevin Folta

Understanding the Science & Controversy behind Biotechnology & Transgenics || Dr. Kevin Folta

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Understanding the Science & Controversy behind Biotechnology & Transgenics || Dr. Kevin Folta

Biotechnology is an emerging and controversial field in science that allows us to understand genetics and use them in a practical manner to potentially help humanity. This podcast delves into the journey and knowledge of Dr. Kevin Folta who has spent his lifetime researching this topic through an agricultural perspective.


Kevin M. Folta is a Professor inthe Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida. His research program examines how light signals are sensed in plants and how different parts of the spectrum can change shelf life and high-value fruit and vegetable traits. His group also uses novel genomics approaches to identify genes related to flavor and disease resistance. An innovative new project is testing a method to create new small-molecule drugs for use in everything from plant growth regulation to MRSA. He has been recognized for his science communication efforts, speaking with public audiences, and training scientists and agricultural producers to be better communicators. In 2016 he was recognized with the prestigious CAST Borlaug Award in Agricultural Communications and was named as the Ag Pro Person of the Year. He also hosts the weekly podcast Talking Biotech (www.talkingbiotechpodcast.com). Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago (1998).


0:15: Ketogeek updates about flavor

8:01: Dr. Kevin Folta’s journey and back story

9:36: What is a “Gene” and “Biotechnology”?

12:20: Why does Biotech get a bad rap in the mainstream?

14:41: Explanation of GMOs/Transgenics, Genetic Engineering & Traditional Agriculture

17:14: How genetic engineering can help solve problems in traditional agriculture

19:50: How are transgenic foods approved by the government?

22:11: How CRISPR Cas9 and gene editing works?

24:28: Can you do multiple edits at the same time?

26:04: The drawbacks and critique of gene editing

28:14: Seralini Study & what if someone finds issues with biotech products?

30:40: How can intrinsic and environmental factors can impact plant development?

33:08: How light can impact plant growth, movement, flavor and aroma

39:04: Are fruits, vegetables and crops less nutritious nowadays?

42:03: The controversy of and narrative behind the “Golden Rice”

45:06: Why do people dislike Transgenic foods?

49:32: Can you make a plant walk?

51:22: What are the limitations of biotechnology?

53:09: Greatest paradoxes you’ve observed as a scientist?

57:23: “Denialism of Science and Society”, thinking critically and problems with social media learning

1:01:24: False narratives and how can couples who are about to start a family get legit scientific information?

1:10:24: The story and controversy of the “Bt Brinjal” in South Asia

1:14:06: Other technologies & the tragic controversy of “Matoke banana” in Uganda

1:18:34: Concerns with companies monopolizing and holding patents to newer biotech technologies

1:21:19: Final Message to the listeners

1:26:07: Final Plugs



Fahad is the founder of Ketogeek and hosts the Ketogeek Podcast, a world class health show about food, nutrition and health. He is into resistance training, Ashtanga yoga, calisthenics and various forms of training styles. Armed with a idealistic goals distilled in a world of realism, his goal is to help the world make a better place. He leads a life of extreme generalism or as he describes it, 'The Renaissance Lifestyle'.