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Impact of Biotechnology on Agriculture Subject of Annual Lecture at UCR May 3

Impact of Biotechnology on Agriculture Subject of Annual Lecture at UCR May 3

(April 26, 1999)

An internationally known scientist at Monsanto Corporation will discuss the transformation of modern agriculture by the introduction of genetically engineered crops in the annual Alfred M. Boyce Lecture scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday, May 3, at the University of California, Riverside.

Frederick J. Perlak, crop technology leader at the St. Louis-based Monsanto Corporation and co-director of the company's Global Cotton Team, will deliver the lecture in the Boyd Lounge of the University Club on campus. It is open to the public free of charge. A reception will follow.

The lecture -- "The Transformation of Modern Agriculture: Development and Commercialization of Transgenic Plants" -- will explore the ways that the technology of genetic engineering has helped growers increase plant productivity, reduce use of synthetic pesticides and cut farming costs.

Perlak will review advances that have made possible insect-resistant cotton, corn and potatoes and how those crops have fared in the field. Research and development that began in the early 1980s has led to wide recent commercialization of so-called transgenic crops. For example, in 1998, approximately 3 million acres of genetically engineered, insect-resistant cotton were planted in the southeastern U.S., a figure that is expected to double over the next few years.

Perlak, a molecular biologist, has pioneered the development of insect-resistant plants for the Monsanto Corporation. In addition to his current positions in the company, he is a member of the Monsanto team developing insect-resistant corn.

The annual lecture honors the late Al Boyce, who during a 60-year association with UCR pioneered the development and use of insecticides and biological methods to combat a variety of agricultural insect pests.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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