Monsanto’s first biotechnology team was created in 1979. Decades later, spurred by the team’s successes in genetic engineering, hundreds of millions of acres of genetically-engineered crops are planted across the globe.
But the success was no sure thing, Stephen Rogers remembered
“The first time we came here to put in the first genetically engineered crop – tomatoes – we had a lot of questions . . .’’ Rogers, one of four principal members of Monsanto’s pioneering team, told The Southwest Farm Press in 2005.
The team had started with petunias, graduated to tomatoes, and then moved into other crops, including corn, soybeans and wheat. Rogers and the other members of the team, Robert Fraley, Robert Horsch and Ernest Jaworski, drew widespread praise for their pioneering research as their work produced insect-resistant and Roundup-tolerant crops.
In 1998 Rogers and the others were awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation for their efforts to develop genetically-modified crops that improved agricultural sustainability around the world.
By Robert Warren