Professor Ottoline Leyser, Director: Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University
Plants in the natural world are the products of evolution by natural selection. Their genes work in concert to allow them to survive environmental challenges, defend themselves from predators and pathogens, and successfully reproduce, passing their genes on to the next generation.
In agriculture, many of the traits favoured by natural selection, such as toxic defences in the seed, are problematic to say the least. So for 10,000 years we have been tuning plant genetics for improved food production. Over the past 150 years, from Mendel to Monsanto, we have developed a battery of more and more sophisticated approaches to this domestication process. The current state of the art includes techniques ranging from genomics assisted breeding to genome editing. This has raised important question about how and by whom our food production systems should be regulated and controlled.
Science on Sundays is a programme of free, informal, monthly drop-in plant science talks, bringing the latest discoveries in plant science to our visitors in a 30 minute nutshell.
11am & repeated at 2pm in the Classroom at 1 Brookside.
Suitable for adults and children age 12+