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People: Alan McHughen




Alan McHughen 2020


Alan McHughen is a public sector educator, scientist and consumer advocate. After earning his doctorate at Oxford University, Dr. McHughen worked at Yale University and the University of Saskatchewan before joining the University of California, Riverside, as a CE Biotechnology Specialist and Geneticist. A molecular geneticist with an interest in crop improvement and environmental sustainability, he helped develop US and Canadian regulations governing the safety of genetically engineered crops and foods. He served on US National Academy of Sciences panels investigating the environmental effects of transgenic plants, a second investigating the safety of genetically engineered foods and helped review a third looking at sustainability and economic impacts of biotechnology on US agriculture. As an educator and consumer advocate, he helps non-scientists understand the environmental and health impacts of both modern and traditional methods of food production. His award winning book, 'Pandora's Picnic Basket; The Potential and Hazards of Genetically Modified Foods' uses understandable, consumer-friendly language to explode the myths and explore the genuine risks of genetic modification (GM) technology. An elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Dr McHughen was also awarded a Jefferson Science Fellowship at US Department of State, serving as Science Advisor to the Secretary of State, and was also appointed a Senior Policy Analyst in the Executive Office of the President at the White House, Washington, DC.


Awards, appointments and other recognition


Research Fellow, Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851

NATO Research Fellow

Lecturer, Yale University

Professor (Research), University of Saskatchewan

Canadian Who’s Who

Book of the Year Award, Canadian Science Writers Association (for Pandora’s Picnic Basket)

Biotechnology Specialist, Cooperative Extension, UCR

Geneticist, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources

Who’s Who in America (Marquis)

Panelist, US National Academies of Sciences,  National Research Council report: Environmental effects of transgenic plants (2002) 

Panelist, National Academies of Sciences, National Research Council and Institute of Medicine report: Safety of genetically engineered foods (2004).

Review Coordinator, National Academies’ National Research Council report: The impact of genetically engineered crops on farm sustainability in the United States (2010).

International Society for Biosafety Research (ISBR) (founding President, 2000-2006, Past-President 2006-2008, Treasurer, 2006-2010)

Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

National Academies of Sciences, Jefferson Science Fellow

Science Adviser, Secretary of State, US Department of State, Washington DC.

Senior Policy Analyst, Executive Office of the President, OSTP, White House, Washington DC



Security Clearance

 TS/SCI (now expired)



US 4,616,100   Production of improved plants having an increased tolerance to the presence of a normally deleterious concentration of a plurality of inorganic salts.

US 5,973,227    Flax transformation



Registered crop varieties


CDC Triffid

CDC Normandy


Contact: Alan McHughen, 3110 Batchelor Hall, University of California, Riverside, California  92521, USA
email: alanmc@ucr.edu






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