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Monsanto moves into Kannapolis Research Campus

David Murdock with Robb Fraley of Monsanto hspace=4

Monsanto announced today it is moving into the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis. WFAE's Julie Rose reports: Monsanto is known globally for its corn and soybean seeds that have been genetically modified to resist disease and yield more crops. But Chief Technology Officer Robb Fraley says Monsanto is also trying to figure out how to make people eat more fruits and vegetables. "What we want to do on this site is really understand the basic science of nutrition and flavor and taste in fresh fruits and vegetables as well as other crops," says Fraley. "Because we think with that information we can make healthier foods, we can make better-tasting foods and that's what this focus is gonna be all about." Fraley says Monsanto will bring about 15 scientists to Kannapolis and make the lab a focal point for Monsanto's nutrition studies. Research campus funder and Dole Foods founder David Murdock says he worked for several years to lure Monsanto to Kannapolis, because the company compliments his dream of making the research campus a hub for health and nutrition research. Murdock is a somewhat eccentric 87-year-old health nut who often says he wants to live forever. He's not at all troubled by the idea of funding controversial research to modify the genetic make-up of fruits and vegetables. "I don't really like the word genetically modified," says Murdock. "I think nature's been modifiying fruits and vegetables since the creation of the earth. So if we speed it up, I don't say it's genetically modified. I would say it has been improved." Monsanto is the most high-profile company to take up residence at Murdock's research campus. Last year two major tenants - PepsiCo and Pharmaceutical Product Development - pulled out. Murdock blames the economy. Now he hopes Monsanto's presence will lure them back and bring new companies, too.