How genetic engineering creates food security: Pamela Ronald speaks at TED2015

TED Blog

Pamela Ronald speaks at TED2015 - Truth and Dare, Session 6. Photo: Bret Hartman/TED Pamela Ronald is a plant scientist, married to an organic farmer. Her talk shows how their goals are the same: to grow good food. Photo: Bret Hartman/TED

Pamela Ronald is here to talk about her work as a plant geneticist, about her quest to “study genes that make plants resistant to disease and tolerant of stress.”

But first, she’d like to introduce us to her husband. “This is Raoul. He’s an organic farmer,” she says. “People say, ‘Really? An organic farmer and a plant geneticist? Can you agree on anything?’ Well, we can. Because we both have the same goal: we want to help nourish the growing population without further destroying the environment.”

Genetic improvement of plants isn’t new, she says. Ancient corn had a case so hard that it couldn’t be chewed; the ancient banana was full of large seeds; ancient brussels sprouts weren’t actually individual objects. “To create these crops, breeders…

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