Iowa State University will get the opportunity to hear the argument for genetically modified crops from a Nobel Prize winner Tuesday, Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Union Great Hall.


Nobel Laureate Sir Richard Roberts is coming to Iowa State University to talk about the benefits of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The event is open to the public.


Roberts, an English biochemist and molecular biologist, is one of 129 Nobel Prize winners participating in “The Nobel Laureates’ Campaign to Support GMOs.” The goal of the effort is to convince governments and the general public to support the use of GMOs to increase food production, reduce the use of pesticides and end hunger worldwide.


The lecture provides the opportunity to hear from an expert in the field of genetic modification. Roberts and Phillip Allen Sharp, an American geneticist and molecular biologist, won a Nobel Prize in 1993 for their discovery of gene splicing, which is the process of inserting genes into existing genetic material.


According to a paper published by Roberts on the Nobel Laureates’ campaign, more than 800 million people around the globe suffer from hunger — and that number is steadily increasing.


Some benefits of GMOs outlined in the paper include already used examples of their applications in developing countries, like the development of “Golden Rice.” This rice variety was developed to contain a higher Vitamin A content in order to resolve vitamin deficiencies in young children in developing countries.


Roberts received his Ph.D. and bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Sheffield in England. He currently serves as the chief scientific officer for New England Biolabs in Massachusetts. Roberts was knighted in 2008.