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The Daily Chronicle

Interview with David S. Eisenberg,


CEO of biotech company AgriLife
June 7, 2016 | By: Steven Tieu
With GMOs taking the headlines as of late, they have become quite the hot button
topic for supporters, skeptics, and its opposition. To learn more, The Daily Chronicle
has decided to reach out to biotech company AgriLife and their CEO David S.
Eisenberg to talk about GMOs, the process and methods of creating them, and the
current obstacles they face in the current world.
Daily Chronicle: So, for the uneducated, what are GMOs and what makes them
special?
David Eisenberg: Well GMOs are an acronym for
genetically modified organisms. These can range from
bacteria with genes that wouldnt be there normally
for the bacteria, or right now in the news headlines,
food that has been genetically modified for a specific
purpose. What makes the type of GMOs in the
headlines right now special is that they are cultivated
to have something that would not be there normally,
such as the case of the article that was published
about the B12 oranges in your news outlet for example. My company has been
experimenting with GMOs for around 5-6 years now and we have been in talks with
scientists and researchers of working to mass producing a variety of GMOs, such as
apples that have natural pesticides in them to prevent pests from eating any of the
fruit.
DC: Thats very interesting. What are the methods and processes involved in
creating GMOs?
DE: There are a variety of processes and methods involved in the creation of GMOs.
For example, one method known as mutagenesis involves the use of chemicals and
ultraviolet radiation which causes genetic mutations in the cells of organisms, which
can happen at random but can also be site-directed to change certain areas in the
organisms cells. Another method, polyploidy, involves using a chemical called
colchicine to inhibit chromosome segregation during meiosis so that half the
gametes have no chromosomes while the other half have double, resulting in
embryos with double the amount of chromosomes. Theres also a method called

protoplast fusion where the cell wall is removed from two cells that are not from
similar species which are then fused together via electric shock and using
hormones, a cell wall is then grown around the newly created nucleus. These are
just a few of the various methods that exist when creating GMOs.
DC: What do you think are the current obstacles GMOs face in the modern world
right now?
DE: Honestly, the obstacles GMOs face right now range from a number of factors.
Safety, for instance, is a huge factor GMOs need to get over. They need to be tested
repeatedly for any potential health risk that it poses to the public, not to mention
potential allergens that are unaware to the average consumer. Another hurdle that
will need to be passed would be marketability. With GMOs being in a very
controversial light right now, its going to be an uphill battle when it comes to
attempting to market these products, especially when some people are going for a
more natural and organic diet, along with the artificiality of these GMOs which could
turn off newcomers as well. However, I think the biggest obstacle right now is just
the fear surrounding GMOs right now. Again, these GMOs are undergoing extremely
rigorous testing by a number of government agencies, so what is the point of being
scared if these GMOs are being tested for anything dangerous? They wouldnt sell it
on store shelves if it would be deemed unsafe. This is just what I think, though. You
may probably think different than I do, but again, this is just my opinion.
DC: I see. Thank you for your time here, David.
DE: No problem. Anytime.