GM wheat trial AMA

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Professor Christine Raines, University of Essex, held a brilliant Reddit ‘AMA’ (Ask Me Anything) on Thursday 9th March 2017. Christine is the lead researcher on the Rothamsted GM wheat trial and answered questions on everything from enzymes and pesticides to the effect of the weather.

Christine is on our plant science panel. Previous AMAs with Professor Sarah O’ Connor and Professor Derek Stewart on medicine from plants and sustainable agriculture were also hugely popular, with hundreds of questions asked and answered.

Here’s Christine’s introduction to the AMA:

In order to feed a growing population, estimates suggest that world food production must increase by 70% by 2050. Wheat is a major crop grown worldwide and increasing its yields provides an opportunity to meet this demand. My colleagues and I at the University of Essex have worked closely with researchers at Lancaster University and Rothamsted Research to increase wheat yields by improving the efficiency of photosynthesis, where light energy is converted into biomass. We’ve done this by increasing the expression of an enzyme in the photosynthetic process. We will soon begin field trails at Rothamsted to evaluate the performance of the GM wheat in real world conditions.

I’m part of the Sense about Science Plant Science Panel, an online group of over 50 independent plant science researchers. You can ask them any questions to do with plants, food or the environment on Twitter (@senseaboutsci #plantsci) Facebook or via the website. Answers are sent back within a couple of days and posted online. The Panel has answered close to 400 questions over the last three years and it’s a great way to cut through the noise around what can often be very polarised debates.

Visit the Reddit AMA page to read the questions and answers from this session. (9 March 2017)

Published: 13 February 2017, updated 10 March 2017