Department of Botany & Plant Sciences


McHughenAlan McHughen

CE Biotechnology Specialist and Geneticist (D.Phil. 1979, University of Oxford, England)
Office: 3110 Batchelor Hall
Phone: (951) 827-7532
Fax: (951) 827-4437
E-mail: alanmc@citrus.ucr.edu



 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. 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. Having developed internationally approved commercial crop varieties using both conventional breeding and genetic engineering techniques, he has firsthand experience with the relevant technical, biosafety and policy issues from both sides of the regulatory process. 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. More recently, Dr McHughen served as a Jefferson Science Fellow at US Department of State and as a Senior Policy Analyst at the White House.



Jefferson Science Fellow, State Department, Office of Intelligence and Research, 2011-2012.

Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President (White House), 2012

Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2008-

Who’s Who in America, 2008-

Certificate of Merit, USDA. 2006

Fellow, American College of Nutrition, 2002-

Certificate of Excellence, American Society of Agronomy (co-recipient), 2002.


Some Representative Publications:

McHughen, A. 2015. Fighting Mother Nature. In: Oxford Handbook of Food, Politics and Society. Editor: R. Herring. Oxford University Press. Pp.431-452. (Book Chapter, Invited)

Hanson, B., A. Fischer, A. McHughen, M. Jaseiniuk, A. Jhala, and A. Shrestha. 2014. Herbicide-resistant crops and weeds. In: Principles of Weed Control, 4th Ed.  Editors: S. A. Fennimore and C. A. Bell. California Weed Science Society. pp. 168-188. (Book Chapter, Invited)

Ryan, C.D. and A. McHughen. 2014. Tomatoes, potatoes and flax: implications of withdrawn products. In: Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development. Editors: Smyth, S., D. Castle and P. Phillips. Edward Elgar. (Book chapter; Invited)

Wager, R., Lerayer, A. Federoff, N. Giddings, L.V., Strauss, S., Leaver, C.J., Potrykus, I., Fellous, M., Burachik, M., Jany, K-L., Trewavas, A.,  Kameswara, C., Prakash, C.S., Miler, H.I., Bradford, K., Cetiner, S., McHughen, A., DeStefano-Beltran, L., Chassy., B., AlMomin, S., Newell-McGloughlin, M., Ammann, K., Herring, R.J., deSouza, L.  2013. Letter to Editor re: Seralini et al. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 53: 440-441. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691512007922#

Brookes, G., J.E. Carpenter, A. McHughen. 2012. A review and assessment of ‘Impact of genetically engineered crops on pesticide use in the US—the first sixteen year: Benbrook C (2012)’.  Environmental Sciences Europe 24:1-14 (September 2012).

McHughen, A. 2012. Introduction to the GM crops special issue on biosafety, food and GM regulations. GM Crops & Food. Vol. 3: p.1. (Invited, incl. cover photo)

McHughen, A., Smyth, S. 2012. Regulation of genetically modified crops in USA. Regulation of Agricultural Biotechnology: The United States and Canada. Editors: Chris Wozniak & Alan McHughen. Springer. P. 35-56. (Book Chapter, Invited)

Smyth, S., McHughen, A. 2012. Regulation of genetically modified crops in USA and Canada: Canadian overview. Regulation of Agricultural Biotechnology: the United States and Canada. Editors: Chris Wozniak & Alan McHughen. Springer. p15-34. (Book Chapter, Invited)

McHughen, A. 2012. Learning from experience: How do we use what we have learned to reform oversight of new agricultural biotechnologies? Regulating next generation agri-food biotechnologies. Editors: M. Howlett & D Laycock. Routledge. 288p. (Book Chapter, Invited)

Wozniak, C. and A. McHughen. 2012. Regulation of Agricultural Biotechnology: The United States and Canada. (book) Springer.

Bazer, F.W., Kraemer, D., McHughen, A. 2011. Welfare, health and biological efficiency of animals through genetics and biotechnology. Animal Welfare in Animal Agriculture. Editors: Pond, W. CRC Press. 25p. (Book Chapter, Invited)

McHughen, A. 2011. Impact of herbicide tolerant crops on weed management in the Asia-Pacific region. Published Proceedings of the Asia Pacific Weed Science Society Annual Conference, Cairns Australia. Asia Pacific Weed Science Society. 14p. Asia Pacific Weed Science Society. (Keynote Lecturer; Invited).

McHughen, A., Wager, R. 2010. Popular misconceptions: agricultural biotechnology. New Biotechnology. Vol. 27: p.724-728.

Wager, R., McHughen, A. 2010. Zero sense in European approach to GM. EMBO Reports. Vol. 11: p.258-262.

Waterer, D., Benning, N., Wu, G., Luo, X., Liu, X., Gusta, M., McHughen, A., Gusta, L.V. 2010. Evaluation of abiotic stress tolerance of genetically modified potatoes (Solanum tuberosum cv. Desiree). Molecular Breeding. Vol. 25: p.527-540.

Gusta, L.V., Benning, N., Wu, G., Luo, X., Liu, X., Gusta, M., McHughen, A. 2009. Superoxide dismutase: an all purpose gene for agri-biotechnology. Molecular Breeding. Vol. 24: p.103-115.

Smyth, S., McHughen, A. 2008. Regulating Innovative Crop Technologies in Canada: The Case of Regulating Genetically Modified Crops. Plant Biotechnology Journal. Vol. 6: 3 p.213-225.

Beachy, R., Federoff, N., Goldberg, R., McHughen, A. 2008. The burden of proof: A response to Rosi-Marshall et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Vol. 105: 7E9 1p.

McHughen, A., Smyth, S. 2008. US regulatory system for genetically modified  crop cultivars. Plant Biotechnology Journal. Vol. 6: 1 10p.

McHughen, A. 2008. Learning from mistakes: missteps in public acceptance issues with GMOs. In: What can nanotech learn from biotech? Eds: Ken David and Paul B. Thompson. Elsevier/Academic Press. Burlington, MA. 28p. (Book Chapter, Invited)

McHughen, A. 2008. Regulations and Biosafety. In: Plant Biotechnology and Genetics. Ed: C. Neal Stewart. Wiley. p.291-310. (Book Chapter, Invited)

McHughen, A. 2008. Agricultural biotechnology. In: Encyclopedia of Rural America. Editors: Gary Goreham (Invited)

McHughen, A. 2008. How are biotech crop cultivars regulated? In: NABC White papers. Editor(s): Tony Shelton.  3p. (Invited)

McHughen, A. 2008. Allergies and Genetically Engineered Foods. In: NABC White papers. Editor(s): Tony Shelton.  3p. (Invited)

McHughen, A. 2008. Labeling genetically modified foods. In: NABC White papers. Editor(s): Tony Shelton.  3p. (Invited)

McHughen, A. 2008. The science of fear, by Dan Gardner. Nature Biotechnology 26: 1226 (book review).

McHughen, A. 2008. Undermining scientific credibility. Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News. Volume: 28 Issue:15 Pages 6-+ SEP 1 2008.

McHughen, A. 2007. The role of the public academic scientist in the twenty-first century: Who is protecting the public interest? In: Public Science in Liberal Democracy: The Challenge to Science and Democracy. Editors: G. Porter and P. Phillips. University of Toronto Press. p.194-204. (Book Chapter, Invited)

Chassy, B., Moses, V., McHughen, A., Giddings, V. 2007. GM soybeans- revisiting a controversial format- response. Nature Biotechnology. Vol. 25: 12 p.1356-1358.

Marshall, A. 2007. GM soybeans and health safety- a controversy reexamined. Nature Biotechnology. Vol. 25: p.981-987.

McHughen, A. 2007. Public perceptions of biotechnology. Biotechnology Journal. Vol. 2: p.1105-1111.

McHughen, A. 2007. Fatal flaws in agbiotech regulatory policies. Nature Biotechnology. Vol. 25: p.725-727.

McHughen, A. 2007. Toppling the organic house of cards. Alex Avery. Nature Biotechnology. Vol. 25: p.522-523. (Book review)

McHughen, A. 2007. Global governance of food and agriculture systems. Reba Carruth. Journal of Commercial Biotechnology. 13:311-312. (Book review)

McHughen, A. 2006. Problems with the Cartagena Protocol. Asia Pacific Biotech. Vol. 10: p.684-687.

McHughen, A. 2006. The limited value of measuring gene flow via errant pollen from GM plants. Environmental Biosafety Research. Vol. 5: p.1-2.

McHughen, A. 2006. Genetic engineering and testing methodologies. Agricultural biotechnology in California series, University of California, ANR, publication 8190. 5p.

McHughen, A. 2006. Plant genetic engineering and regulation in the United States. Agricultural biotechnology in California series, University of California, ANR, publication 8179. 5p.

McHughen, A., Kershen, D. 2005. Adventitious presence. CAST issue papers. July 19 4p.

McHughen, A. 2005. Allergies and genetically engineered foods. In: NABC White papers. Editor(s): Tony Shelton.  3p. (Invited)

Avery, A., Prakash, C.S., McHughen, A., Trewavas, A., DeGregori, T. 2005. What kind of farming works best? Science.   p.1410-1411. 



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