Oregon State University

Fulfilling the Promise

Crop Biotechnology for the Poor in Africa

Scientist Roger Beachy explains why access to genetically improved seed is critical to feeding the hungry in the third world. 

7:00p Wednesday 22 Oct 2007, Oregon State University


Beachy poster

Roger Beachy

Roger Beachy is the founding president of the non-profit Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in Saint Louis, Missouri. Beachy pioneered the development of virus-resistant plants through biotechnology; his early research led to the development of the world's first genetically modified food crop, a virus-resistant tomato. His laboratory conducts basic research on plant biology, and uses recombinant DNA-based technologies to improve crop plants like rice and sweet potato that are grown in developing countries.

Roger’s Food for Thought lecture addresses scientific, commercial, and legal issues for genetically engineered crops, with a focus on cassava, which sometimes is called the potato of Africa. He explains why the GMO controversy makes it extremely difficult to get even potentially life-saving crop varieties into the field for evaluation, and thus into the hands of poor farmers who stand to benefit from them.


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