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9 November 2012

'How Often Do You Eat a Mutant Food?' Cafe Science Extra on 14th November

Have you ever stopped to think how often you eat what might be considered 'mutant' food? Even if you have, do you care? Should you?

Dr Eleanor Gilroy will tackle the controversial issue of genetically modified (GM) food at the next Cafe Science Extra event to be held in Dundee. She will look at the subject, and why scientists persist with this field of study in the face of widespread opposition at Sensation: Dundee Science Centre on Wednesday, 14th November.

Alternative ways to increase crop yields are urgently required to feed a rapidly growing global population, and GM food is the area of research that has attracted by far the most attention in recent years. The subject has proved highly contentious, with many activists predicting severe health and environmental consequences if scientists are allowed to interfere with nature in this way.

However, Dr Gilroy, from the James Hutton Institute, insists that GM food research takes place in order to try and better the world. She will draw parallels between genetically modified produce and food created by the cross-breeding of plants and livestock over the past 6000 years in her talk.

Dr Gilroy said, 'As the World’s population continues to grow past the 7 billion mark, more and more crops are needed to feed us and our livestock, and to grow biofuels. This increasing global food demand creates significant environmental and health concerns, driving up food prices and exerting extra pressure on the land we use for agriculture.

'With this in mind, we have to look at new ways of meeting increasing global demand for food, and GM technology offers us the chance to alleviate hunger and poverty. People may be amazed to find out they already eat what might be termed mutant food.'

The talk takes place in conjunction with Dundee Science Festival. More information about all events taking place as part of the month-long celebration of science is available at

More than 3000 visitors have attended Café Science and Café Science Extra events since their launch in January 2008. The monthly Café Science events take the form of informal discussions led by leading local researchers that allow members of the public the opportunity to learn more about the ground-breaking science happening in Dundee.

With Café Science Extra, the focus is on up-and-coming scientists from the University of Dundee and Abertay University, the James Hutton Institute, and Dundee Science Centre.

‘How Often Do You Eat a Mutant Food?’ takes place at Infusion coffee shop, Dundee Science Centre - Sensation at 6pm on Wednesday, 14th November. Doors open at 5.30pm, and the event is free and open to all. There is no need to book in advance but an early arrival is recommended.

More information is available at

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Grant Hill
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University of Dundee
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