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Source: U.S. Wheat Associates news release

"The debate on GMOs is over," Julie Borlaug, granddaughter of the late wheat scientist Norman Borlaug, told an audience of agricultural media and industry members last week. She continued that although the scientific community has repeatedly demonstrated the safety and value of biotech crops, "advocates of biotech need to do a better job of explaining to the public why biotech is vital to our future."

At the Bayer CropScience Ag Issues Forum on Tuesday, Feb. 25, Borlaug instructed scientists and agriculturalists alike to "dumb down and shorten our message." Borlaug further explained that the scientific explanations of the why and how agricultural research works is much more difficult to explain than the emotional misconceptions perpetuated by biotech opponents.

And she would know. Borlaug's grandfather, the father of the Green Revolution, was an active influence on her life literally since the day she was born. Norman Borlaug earned a Nobel Peace Prize for his work developing semi-dwarf, high-yield, disease resistant wheat varieties, which have saved more than a billion people worldwide from starvation.

Julie Borlaug now continues his legacy as the associate director for external relations for the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M University.

Borlaug breaks down the science behind biotech in more than just her professional life. She detailed her experience in emotionally connecting the science to the food we eat at a garden party that one of her friends held for their children - at which the host detailed the lack of flavor, poor appearance and diminishing supply of her attempted GMO-free garden.

Borlaug reiterated, "We desperately need to tell the world about biotech" and encouraged those working in agriculture to do so in a way that consumers around the globe can understand. She even gave a shout out to the importance of wheat research in her speech, saying without disease resistance and other attributes there would be "no more pasta dinners, no more birthday cakes."

Norman Borlaug's legacy, familial and vocational, illustrates that advances like biotechnology and associated technologies (marker-assisted selection, double haploid breeding, etc.) will help the world grow more and better wheat with less impact on the environment. And that is a message worth sharing.

To listen to Julie Borlaug's full comments, visit

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