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Can genomics provide the answer to food safety for all? 

By Abigail Stevenson, Vice President, Mars Advanced Research Institute

At the end of June, I had the honor of participating in a virtual discussion with Nobel Laureate professor, Ada Yonath, and a young scientist, Clari Miserendino. It was a conversation that spanned three continents.

The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings are an annual gathering of Nobel Prize winners and the next generation of scientists, with the aim of fostering meaningful scientific exchange. Mars has a deep partnership with Lindau that goes back to 2006, during which time we’ve discussed some of society’s biggest challenges — from toxins in the food supply chain to the degradation of coral reefs.

This year, we discussed how genomics can help achieve global food security. Genomics is a tool we’re exploring at Mars. By mapping an organism’s unique genetic blueprint, it’s possible to open the door to better identification, tracking and tracing of foodborne pathogens, as well as improving the quality and resilience of crops.

A clear theme stood out for me — uncommon collaboration. As Ada Yonath rightly made clear, we need to break down silos in science to address some of the most difficult challenges we face. For food security, that means all sectors and disciplines coming together, collaborating and sharing to leverage the full potential of genomics in the future, for generations to come.

That’s the power of Lindau – the meeting of leading scientific minds across generations.

Interested in learning more? Read my recent blog for my reflections on our enriching and inspiring conversations.