FEB 2022 - International Aquafeed magazine

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that the problem? Science papers are not exactly a well-read communication medium, with very few outside what are very specialist science domains, reading what is actually written. In fact, in my own view, formed over a twenty-year scientific career, publishing science papers is more about a quality assurance (QA) of the work than actual communication. But that might not be a widely shared view.

Brett Glencross How to capitalise on publicly funded science: the case of the GMO revolution


read with interest recently a column in the online journal FeedNavigator that reported predictions by Rabobank of an imminent upturn in genetically modified crop technology being adopted by China as it seeks to reduce its dependence on feed imports. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are one of those topics that polarises people. While seen as a cutting-edge and futuristic science topic to scientists, the impact and benefits to consumers has not been met with the same enthusiasm to say the least. Why is this? What is it that consumers see that scientists don’t, and vice versa? And why do we see such differing opinions around the world? Much of this story I suspect stems from the communications of the benefits that such technologies bring. However, the number of scientific publications coming out on this area over the past twenty years is not insignificant. Scientists have been great at communicating their work in that regard. But is

Global food production systems

In terms of broader media (like newspapers and TV), my own experience with that has been that rarely does the media have a positive news story to tell about food. They are more likely to dial up the doom-and-gloom of how we are all being poisoned and are going to die (despite that our food is safer now than at any point in history and the average life expectancy continues to climb), than point out some of the fantastic progress made in global food production systems. So that is probably not the best strategy to rely on to communicate the benefits either. Maybe the answer lies with publishing less (in any kind of medium) and commercialising things more? From experience, the two tend often be in counterbalance to some degree. Afterall, for businesses to make money, they usually need to have a commercial advantage over their competitors. Telling everyone in the world your secrets doesn’t usually help with the advantage part there. In terms of the actual GMO landscape, the crop-based omega-3 oils area provides an interesting contrast of tales to all this. As serendipity would have it, throughout different parts of my scientific career I managed to work (peripherally) with two such programs.

Too slow to deliver benefits

What I noted was that the two different national science programs, working with different plants, producing different

Dr Brett Glencross is the Technical Director of IFFO - The Marine Ingredients Organisation. Over the past 25 years he has worked in various academic, institutional, and industrial roles across Australasia, the Middle East and Europe. 10 | February 2022 - International Aquafeed