Modern plant breeding is not a radical departure from conventional breeding; nor is it an assault on naturalism or religious beliefs. Rather, it lies along a continuum of technological innovation that began with the early days of farming. However, because plant genetic innovations are complex, often poorly explained or associated in the minds of consumers with other, often unrelated agricultural issues, some consumers, advocacy non-governmental organizations and journalists fear technological progress in agriculture leading to highly polarized debates. The PGI will address this communication gap through genetic literacy and science communication program that will guide the communication efforts of scientists as they relate their findings to the public, assist elementary school teachers in science education, and provide multi-modal information sources for use by policymakers, educators, and journalists. Because intellectual property constraints, farming practices and economics affect the adoption and usefulness of new crop varieties, the PGI will also train students to examine these related agricultural issues and to communicate the science behind plant genetics.
As part of CGI outreach, CGI director Ronald blogs for Scientific American Food Matters, part of Nature Publishing Group. Her goal is to enhance the public understanding of and engagement with science. CGI members also blog for Biology Fortified, an independent, non-profit organization devoted to providing factual information and fostering discussion about issues in biology, with a particular emphasis on plant genetics and genetic engineering in agriculture. Funding Basic Science to Revolutionize Medicine, 2013 FASEB Stand Up for Science.