Genetic Engineering College in USA

BBC News | Sci/Tech

Sci/Tech
Genetic engineering to battle iron deficiency
The plants on the left have the iron-converting gene, those on the right do not
A new gene could be genetically engineered into plants to solve the world's most common malnutrition problem - iron deficiency.

The gene is used by plants to take up nutritious forms of iron from the soil. The World Health Organisation estimates that 3.7 billion malnourished people suffer from iron deficiency. It is known as the "hidden hunger".

The research team's leader believes the discovery of the FRO2 gene could have far-reaching benefits despite the recent outcry in the UK over the safety of genetically-modified (GM) crops.

Professor Nigel Robinson, at Newcastle University Medical School, England, said: "This is a British example of how the genetic modification of crops could benefit consumers and the environment.

"The technology is inherently safe but each application of the technology to produce a new crop must also be assessed to ensure that it is safe."

Professor Nigel Robinson: "There's an element of xenophobia about opposition to GM crops but our local press has been great"
He explained that the nutritional quality of crops had suffered because selective breeding of plants over thousands of years had aimed solely to increase harvests. "There is now the potential to breed back into foods nutrients they have lost during selective breeding, " he said.

Professor Mary Lou Guerinot, of Dartmouth College, USA, also worked on the project and said: "Because plants are the principle source of iron for most people, the generation of iron-fortified crops could have a significant impact on human health."

The scientists isolated the gene in the plant arabidopsis, or thale cress, but they believe similar genes work in all plants. Professor Robinson told BBC News Online that singling out the gene from the 30, 000 in the arabidopsis genome was a painstaking and difficult task.

The right kind of iron

Iron is found naturally in two forms: ferric (3+) and ferrous (2+). Ferric iron is more common in soils but cannot be absorbed by humans.

The FRO2 gene helps plants produce an enzyme called reductase, which enables them to convert ferric iron to ferrous iron. Manipulating this gene to produce more reductase will enable plants living in poor soil to take up more of the nutritious form of iron.

The team is now carrying out further tests to see whether the increased production of iron can be concentrated in parts of the plant that humans might eat.

Iron deficiency leads to diseases like anaemia, in which the blood contains too little haemoglobin. In Ethiopia, for example, it affects 50% of women and children and 25% of men.

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UC Berkeley College of Engineering
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Coordinates: 37‹52Œ25.78N 122‹15Œ32.57W
University of California, Berkeley College of Engineering
The University of California 1868.svg
Established
1931
Type
Public Professional School
Dean
Shankar S. Sastry
Academic staff
218 [1]
Undergraduates
3,158 [1]
Postgraduates
1,716 [1]
Location
Berkeley, California, USA
Affiliations
University of California, Berkeley
Website

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  • Avatar josh Genetic engineering, college and future employment?
    Jun 22, 2007 by josh | Posted in Higher Education (University +)

    What are some of the best colleges for genetic engineering localized around Midwestern USA, i.e. KS,MN, SD,ND, MT, ect.
    or if it is a must, anywhere in the USA

    What are the demands for genetic engineers in the work field

    What is the average pay for a genetic Engineer

    • In the midwest- Madison and Manhattan are probably your two best state school options.

      Really though, genetic engineering as a specialty is a thing of the past. Since the late 90's the techniques and methods that were referred to as "genetic engineering" are pretty ubiqu …it really depends on how far you go in school. A BSci will get you in the door, but you have a very low ceiling. At most you will be looking low to mid 40s. A masters can up that a bit, maybe upper 40s to mid 50s. And typically a PhD (and 10 years of experience) typically is in the 80-90k range.

  • Avatar josh Genetic engineering, college and future employment?
    Jun 20, 2007 by josh | Posted in Engineering

    What are some of the best colleges for genetic engineering localized around Midwestern USA, i.e. KS,MN, SD,ND, MT, ect.
    or if it is a must, anywhere in the USA

    What are the demands for genetic engineers in the work field

    What is the average pay for a genetic Engineer

    • You can go to and do an college search and then do an advanced search and fill the info in and you should come out with what you want.