Biotechnology education at Purdue University and beyond Peter Goldsbrough Dept. of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University January 2006.
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Biotechnology education at Purdue University and beyond Peter Goldsbrough Dept. of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University January 2006
Outline Survey of major ag biotech products Adoption of biotech products Products that have failed Obstacles to the deployment of ag biotech products Some examples of biotechnology educational programs
Timeline 1973First recombinant DNA molecules 1978First plant genes cloned 1983Transgenic plants produced 1994Flavr Savr tomato marketed 1996 Roundup Ready soybeans planted commercially 1998First UK supermarket bans GM foods 2002Approval to grow Bt cotton in India
What are the products of agricultural biotechnology? Herbicide resistance –soybeans, cotton, canola, corn Insect resistance –cotton, corn Virus resistance –papaya, squash Others (most not yet commercialized) –nutritional content, shelf life, flower color, pharma crops ….
Impact of Roundup Ready beans Improved weed control Reduced cost of weed control –for all growers –impact on other herbicide manufacturers Increased use of no-till planting –reduced soil erosion
Why do growers love Roundup Ready soybeans? Reduced production costs Greater flexibility for weed control Increased yield?
Bt cotton Produces a Cry toxin protein from Bacillus thuringiensis Used to control a number of insect pests –cotton bollworm, budworm Introduced in 1996, now planted on 76% of US cotton acreage
Global adoption of Bt cotton Bt cotton has been planted in many countries, 21% of global acreage –US, India, China, Australia, South Africa Contributed to a dramatic reduction in insecticide use (more than 50% in some areas) Limited food safety concerns Bollgard II recently introduced –expresses two different Cry proteins
Virus resistance Papaya ringspot virus decimated the papaya industry in Hawaii in the 1990s Dennis Gonsalves et al. developed transgenic papaya expressing PRSV coat protein, resistant to the virus
Virus resistance Transgenic papaya grown in Hawaii for several years Restored the papaya industry Increased exports of non-transgenic papaya
Adoption of GM crops Steady increase in global plantings of GM crops High market penetration in the US
GM crops are planted on only 5% of the world's farmland –account for >50% of only one crop, soybeans Lots of opportunity for growth!
Some GM product “failures” Flavr Savr tomato Bt potato High methionine soybean Roundup Ready wheat Weevil resistant pea
What are the obstacles to the greater use of GM crops? Scientific discovery Cost of development Economic benefits Intellectual property constraints Regulatory issues Consumer acceptance What role for biotechnology education?
Consumer acceptance? Not an issue in the US A major concern elsewhere, especially in Europe
Agricultural biotechnology education at Purdue Purdue students –HORT 350 Biotechnology in Agriculture High school teachers –Summer class on biotechnology School-age children –Apple genomics The general public
HORT 350 Biotechnology in Agriculture Semester course for junior and senior undergraduate students The science of biotechnology and transgenic organisms Applications of biotechnology, primarily in agriculture Regulations and controversies surrounding ag biotechnology
Biotechnology education for teachers HORT 350 converted to a distance education course for teachers Taught by Dr. Kathryn Orvis Encourages incorporation of genetics and biotechnology into the school curriculum Teachers develop and share lesson plans on biotechnology
Biotechnology education for children Apple genomics research program supported by the National Science Foundation At Purdue, we are developing web- based educational material to explain the science of genomics Targeted at school-age children Uses apple as the model
Apple genomics education Use animations to explain topics DNA cloning DNA sequencing Gene expression Microarrays
From Lego blocks to nucleotides Lego building blocks are used to represent nucleotides in DNA Connectors on blocks represent the hydoxyl and phosphate groups These join together to make a stack of blocks or a DNA molecule
DNA sequencing with Lego blocks Connectors on Lego blocks represent chemical groups Different colors of blocks represent bases Blocks without connectors represent dideoxy nucleotides used for sequencing
DNA sequencing with Legos See the animation, “Modeling DNA Sequencing with Lego Blocks under Apple Molecular Biology – Cloning, on this website.
Other animations Two additional animations, showing biotechnology processes are on this webpage, under the For Educators” section: The gene gun Agrobacterium
The role of education Education will not solve all the problems with public concern regarding GM crops However, if the public is better informed about the science and the issues, the prospects for more widespread adoption of this technology are enhanced