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Science AMA Series: I’m Alison Van Eenennaam, a geneticist at University of California – Davis. I am in the documentary movie Food Evolution - narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson that is playing in NYC this week, and I’m here today to talk about it. AMA!
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I am an animal geneticist at UC Davis with a strong interest in science communication. I am in the documentary film called Food Evolution which is showing in New York City this week at Village East Cinema (https://www.citycinemas.com/villageeast/film/food-evolution). The film uses the debate around GMOs as a proxy for bigger questions around decision making, alternative facts, and asks why do many people make decisions with their hearts rather than their heads? The movie has reviews in Science, and the Hollywood Reporter. As someone working in agricultural science my entire career I see a lot of deceptive marketing designed to play on people’s fears, and recently a lot of misleading “absence-labeling” suggesting the absence of something that was never in the food product in the first place (e.g. gluten-free water). My own research focuses on genetic improvement of cattle, with some research focusing on using gene editing as discussed in Science Friday and illustrated in this video. I will be back at 11 am PT (2 pm ET); I look forward to your questions on genetic improvement of crops and livestock, and/or questions related to the movie Food Evolution. My twitter handle is @biobeef.