In 1982 an insulin made from a genetically engineered E. coli bacteria became the first genetically modified organism (GMO) approved for sale in the United States. Twelve years later, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Flavr Savr, a tomato that is genetically modified for longer shelf life, for sale in the US.

However, by then scientists were grappling with a widespread consumer backlash to GMO foods. Because GMOs involve an innovation in DNA, the building blocks of life, the technology not only unleashed potential new step-changes in food and health – but coalesced a concern among some communities about high tech food and agricultural systems.

The lesson for science has been that improving food safety, nutrition and boosting world food supplies are not necessarily the drivers for how different communities value food.

Now a new film, Food Evolution, explores the complexity of cultural attitudes to GMOs and food, and investigates how easily fear and misinformation can overwhelm objective, evidence-based analysis.

Food Evolution takes the position that science and scientists hold the key to solving the food crisis and the organisers of the international TropAg2017 conference invite you to a free screening of the film, followed by a panel discussion on some of the issues raised.

Join one of the stars of the film, Dr Alison Van Eenennaam, a science communicator and an animal genomics and biotechnology specialist, together with Professor Robert Henry, a plant geneticist and Professor of Innovation from the University of Queensland – for a new perspective on the GMO debate.

Dr Alison Van Eenennaam

Dr. Alison L. Van Eenennaam is an Animal Genomics and Biotechnology Cooperative Extension Specialist in the Department of Animal Science at the University of California, Davis where she has been on faculty for 15 years. Her research foccuses on the use of genomics and biotechnology in the genetic improvement of cattle. A former Calgene employee, Dr. Van Eenennaam holds a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Science from the University of Melbourne, Victoria, and both a master’s degree in Animal Science and a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of California, Davis

Professor Robert Henry

Professor Robert Henry is the Director of the Queensland Alliance of Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) at the Univeristy of Queensland. Professor Robert Henry, is a graduate of the University of Queensland, B Sc (Hons), Macquarie University, M Sc (Hons) and La Trobe University (Ph D). In 2000 Professor Henry was awarded a higher doctorate (D Sc) by UQ for his work on analysis of variation in plants.His speciality research area is the study of agricultural crops using molecular tools. He is particularly interested in Australian flora and plants of economic and social importance and has led the way in research into genome sequencing to capture novel genetic resources for the diversification of food crops to deliver improved food products.

Contact: Hannah Hardy,



Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Plaza Auditorium

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20 Nov 201722 Nov 2017