Developing Bioinsecticides: combining nature and technology

Citizen Science 2
For our second lecture in the La Jolla Riford Library Lecture Series, Octavio Espinosa gave a fascinating look inside how a young, local start up company in the mid 80s, Mycogen Corporation, harnessed nature’s insecticidal protection and combined it with technology to commercialize safe and effective genetically modified bioinsecticides.  He outlined the key technical steps involved in developing these biopesticides starting with naturally occurring molecules that target specific insects that are pests on major crops.  Mycogen Corporation developed this environmentally specific portfolio to combat a variety of crop pests by placing the key genes into bacteria to produce the insecticide molecules.  The lecture led to an in depth discussion of the possibilities of these or similar products being used currently and the next generation of these bioinsecticides which have become more controversial with genes inserted directly into the crop plants.

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