MJ 1-4 - The Long Road to Commercialization of Insect Protected Crops

Saturday, July 14
3:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Grown in over 30 countries on over 450 million acres per year, biotechnology traits in agricultural crops have provided improved yields and agronomics for farmers with reduced impact on the environment. Before the introduction of insect protected crops over 20 years ago, the main tools available to farmers to protect their fields from insect pests were chemical insecticides. Upon introduction in 1996/1997, adoption of insect protected cotton and corn using genes for proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) grew exponentially due to the excellent performance in controlling insects and ease of use for farmers.  While Bt and its insecticidal properties had been discovered as early as 1920, a wide variety of innovations were needed to develop Bt cotton and corn that would perform as a tool for successful use in farmers’ fields, ranging from identification of Bt genes sufficiently active against target insects, improvements in plant gene expression, to methods for testing insect efficacy in plants in greenhouse and field.  In addition, other aspects such as regulatory safety and environmental testing, large scale farmer testing in elite germplasm were needed before the insect protected cotton and corn seeds could be used by farmers.  The many steps and stages that produced the first insect protected crops are still used to develop commercial biotech products today, though the time, cost, and effort to develop each trait has increased.  The many discoveries in plant biology continue to have incredible potential to bring new products to grow better crops more sustainably; an understanding of the road to commercialization can facilitate getting successful new innovations onto the farm more quickly.


Sherri Brown, PhD

Managing Director
The Yield Lab

Dr. Brown is currently Managing Director at The Yield Lab, providing innovative companies and entrepreneurs with funding, mentoring, and connections to help revolutionize agrifood systems to more sustainably provide for the world’s need for healthy nutrition.

Dr. Sherri Brown spent over 25 years at Monsanto Company. As part of the first biotechnology team, Sherri played a key role in the development and commercialization of Roundup Ready Corn and the YieldGard family of insect protected products. She has led discovery programs with a research focus in phytohormones, pollen biology, and seed development and germination. Sherri held a variety of global leadership roles, leading teams in Strategy, Product Development, Corn, Oilseeds, Chemistry, and Animal Agriculture.
Dr. Brown received undergraduate degrees in Biology and Chemistry from Hope College and her Ph.D. in Genetics and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from Indiana University. Dr. Brown has published numerous scientific papers and patents and been recognized with a variety of awards, including the Queeny Award, Monsanto’s highest scientific honor, a the ASPB Industry Innovation Award and the Trustee’s Award from the St. Louis Academy of Science.
Sherri is committed to developing the next generation of scientists and a strong advocate for the role of women in science, leading organizations and serving on boards that advance these initiatives. Sherri lives in St. Louis, Missouri with her husband David and is a proud parent of two adult children pursuing successful careers in STEM fields.


Send Email for Sherri Brown


MJ 1-4 - The Long Road to Commercialization of Insect Protected Crops

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