Interview with Dr. Gia Aradottir

In England, there is an important experiment underway. A research group at the Rothamsted Research station in Harpenden, is testing a variety of wheat that has been genetically engineered to scare away aphid pests. If successful, the experiment could demonstrate the effectiveness of a novel, environmentally-friendly way to manage pests. However, a protest group is threatening the ability of the researchers to continue their project, and there have been a lot of claims made about the research. To help shed some light on this experiment, I interviewed Dr. Gia Aradottir, a biologist who is involved in the project. KJHvM: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to work at Rothamsted and on this project? What is your role in the project? GA: I’m the newest member of the GM wheat team, I joined the E-β-farnesene project a year and a half ago. I did my

What do you want to know about GE wheat?

This year and next, an important and interesting trial of genetically engineered wheat is underway. At the Rothamsted research station in the UK, they are testing the ability of this wheat to ward off aphids by emitting an odorless pheromone. If successful, it could mean that wheat farmers will have a non-insecticide option for prevent losses to this harmful herbivore. This field trial has gotten a lot of press and attention, and the UK’s chief scientific adviser called it amazing. However, a group calling themselves Take The Flour Back, is protesting the trial, and through their website are threatening to vandalize and remove the wheat plants before they flower. (No April Fools, folks.) Well you are in for a treat! We have arranged an interview with Gia Aradottir, who is a biologist involved in the project. Here is a story that focused on her work. Is there anything you want