World Food Prize recipients to lecture at U. Iowa

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Three World Food Prize recipients are visiting the University of Iowa to discuss breakthroughs in biotechnology that paved the way for genetically modified crops.

Marc Van Montagu, Mary-Dell Chilton, and Robert Fraley will deliver a public lecture Tuesday in the Old Capitol. Later this week, they’ll be honored during a three-day conference in Des Moines.

Van Montagu and Chilton independently developed the technology in the 1980s to stably transfer foreign genes into plants, a discovery that set up a race to develop tools to genetically engineer plants. It allowed other scientists to incorporate genetic traits in plants to better withstand drought, heat and to fight off pests and disease.

Fraley genetically engineered the first herbicide-resistant soybean in 1996.

The World Food Prize Foundation announced their awards in June, igniting controversy.

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