Back in 1981, a young scientist named Mary-Dell Chilton was working in a relatively new field of biotechnology in crops. The goal: to create a genetically modified version of corn that could resist drought, weeds, bugs, all while producing a higher yield. All things that are important to producing more food for all of the reasons I spelled out above. Mary-Dell didn’t just work on it, she did it. Working closely with a team of others, that she heavily credits, she created the very first genetically modified corn. That discovery has led to an entire industry built around these types of crops and the potential of feeding more people with them.
Mary-Dell was interested in science from a young age and has a brilliant mind for the subject. Now in her 80’s, she still comes into her lab at Syngenta daily. There she continues to work with her peers, often being the person they go to when dealing with tough problems or needing to unravel a mystery they might be working on.