Seminar in Crop Science
“Prospects for Cheaper De-regulation and Easier Release of Crops with Genetic Modifications”
Dr. Kater Hake
Vice President, Agricultural and Environmental Research,
Thursday, February 5
2405 Williams Hall
Since its commercial inception, recombinant DNA innovations in crops have been scrutinized for environmental and human safety by a patchwork of regulatory agencies around the world. This system has resulted in unassailable human safety for commercialized biotech products but unresolvable discussions about their environmental impact. Agriculture has an environmental impact (perhaps the largest of all human activities) thus discussions about environmental impacts of new agricultural technologies are tied up in a broader discussion about agriculture’s sustainability. Scientists are creating innovations in plant biology that could substantially improve the current crops we rely on for food, feed and fiber and that could domesticate new plant species over the span of decades instead of the millennia required for our current crops. These innovations derive from expanding knowledge of plant biology, tools to manipulate inherited plant traits, and wide ranging commercial structures to utilize seed innovations on millions of crop acres. The tools of genome editing are on a cusp of making major or minimal contributions to agriculture. How they are perceived by consumers and regulated by governments will influence whether this impact is restricted to just a couple crops planted on a minimum of 100 million acres each or provide broad benefit on many crops in many countries. This presentation will provide an update on GM regulatory challenges and opportunities in agriculture with an emphasis on genome editing tools.
The biography of Dr. Hake follows on the next page.
Dr. Hake has worked in the Biotech Industry at the research, policy, commercialization and education levels from the early years of this technology. Prior to the commercialization of Bt-cotton in 1996, he worked for Texas A&M, National Cotton Council and Univ. of California as a cotton Agronomist, where evaluating biotech products and policy was a small part of his responsibility. In 1996 he joined Delta and Pine Land to build and lead a technical team that successfully commercialized cotton biotechnology in many foreign countries. His responsibilities included, Ex-U.S.: regulatory, testing, product positioning, breeding, and training. In 2001, Dr. Hake took on a new position at D&PL (Vice President Technology Development) to support the investigation and acquisition of new biotech traits. With the successful sale of D&PL to Monsanto, he took the Vice President Agricultural and Environmental Research position at Cotton Incorporated in 2007. His department provides partial funding to over 295 public sector labs working on cotton. Dr. Hake manages the research projects focused on biotechnology innovations and science. He also served ten years on the US Secretary of Agriculture’s Ag Technical Advisory Committees responsible for cotton and planting seed.