Genetic Engineering and Society Center

Integrating scientific knowledge & public values in shaping the futures of biotechnology

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Feb 28, 2020  |  View in browser  |  Subscribe 

GES Colloquium 

Tuesdays 12-1PM, Poe 202
Photo of Anna Stepanova
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Next Colloquium: Tuesday, 3/3

Building a synbio toolbox to monitor and control plant hormone activity

Anna Stepanova, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Plant Biology and Genetics, NC State

Website | Email | Twitter: @ANStepanova45

Due to the discussion of unpublished research, this colloquium livestream will require NC State Unity authentication.

Phytohormones are critical regulators of plant development and environmental responses. In the past three decades, the molecular pathways that govern hormone biosynthesis, signaling, and catabolism have been largely mapped out using a combination of genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, and cell biology approaches. Despite the major progress, our ability to monitor and precisely control hormone action remains limited. With the development of inexpensive DNA synthesis technologies and the rise of synthetic biology as a new discipline at the intersection of molecular genetics and engineering, new molecular tools can now be built to enable hormone tracking and targeted hormone manipulation. We have generated a synthetic biology toolbox that allows rapid construction of multi-hormone transcriptional reporters. In addition, we are building CRISPR-based logic gate devices to confer novel, highly restricted patterns of expression to any genes of interest using a limited set of available native and synthetic drivers. Read more >


Speaker Bio

Dr. Anna Stepanova received her BS and MS degrees from the University of Nevada, Reno and Lobachevsky State University of Nizhni Novgorod, Russia. She did her graduate studies on hormone ethylene in the laboratory of Joseph Ecker at UPenn and Salk and postdoctoral work on ethylene-auxin interactions with Jose Alonso at NC State University. Anna is now an Associate Professor of Plant Biology and Genetics at NC State University. Her primary research interests continue to center around plant hormones, specifically the mechanisms of ethylene signal transduction, auxin biosynthesis, hormonal pathways’ crosstalk, and translational regulation of hormone responses. In her work, Anna is employing classical and molecular genetics, genomics and synthetic biology in Arabidopsis and tomato to decipher the mechanisms governing plant adaptation and phenotypic plasticity.


Articulating Free, Prior, and Informed Consent for Gene Drives

AgBioFEWS Fellow Dalton George and GES faculty Todd Kuiken and Jason Delborne discuss their recent publication that introduces the concept of "free, prior, and informed consent" and its developing role in the future of ecological editing, and what this could mean for the practices of gene drive research and development. Read more >
*No colloquium 3/10 - Happy Spring Break!
NASEM BANR symposium save the date
SAVE THE DATE for a symposium on the systemwide economic, ecological, & societal impacts of emerging innovations in biotechnology. April 30 - May 1, 2020 | Duke Energy Hall, Hunt Library. Details forthcoming
Short lectures on Art's Work/Genetic Futures at the Gregg
Short Lectures on Art's Work/Genetic Futures: In conjunction with “Art’s Work in the Age of Biotechnology,” lectures will be presented at the Gregg Museum or Art & Design by Jennifer Baltzegar, Todd Kuiken, and Fred Gould of the Genetic Engineering and Society Center; Darrell Stover from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences; and Molly Renda from NC State University Libraries. Read more >


GES-Related papers

recent paper in Issues in Science and Technology provides a broad summary of policy and regulatory issues surrounding gene drives. The authors discuss a variety of technologies falling under this broad heading, as well as related biological and biotechnological controls. They summarize relevant events at the Convention on Biological Diversity. They also summarize research on public attitudes towards gene drives in agriculture (including our GES affiliates' recent Science Advances paper) and in public health.

  • Gene Drives: New and Improved, by Robert M. Friedman, John M. Marshall, and Omar S. Akbari. Issues, vol. XXXVI, No. 2, Winter 2020

A new Science article discusses and references Todd Kuiken's DIYbio work: "For example, the implementation of the credential could be modeled after work being done within the DIYbio community, which involves obtaining widespread adoption of safety practices among distributed communities from around the world (10). This is an example of what can be achieved through engagement, communication, and partnership."

  • Policy Forum: Promoting biosecurity by professionalizing biosecurity, by Rebecca L. Moritz, Kavita M. Berger, Barbara R. Owen, David R. Gillum, Science. February 21, 2020

The distribution and spread of naturally occurring Medea selfish genetic elements in the United States

Sarah A. Cash, Marce D. Lorenzen, and Fred Gould. Ecol Evol, 2019; 9: 14407– 14416. doi: 10.1002/ece3.5876. Published: 27 November 2019. Download PDF

Articulating ‘free, prior and informed consent’ (FPIC) for engineered gene drives

Dalton R. George, Todd Kuiken, and Jason A. DelborneProc. Royal Soc. B. Vol. 286, Issue 1917. Published: 18 December 2019.

Scenario analysis on the use of rodenticides and sex-biasing gene drives for the removal of invasive house mice on islands

Megan E. Serr, Rene X. Valdez, Kathleen S. Barnhill-Dilling, John Godwin, Todd Kuiken & Matthew Booker.  Biological Invasions (2020) pp 1-14. Published: 02 January 2020.

Articulating ‘free, prior and informed consent’ (FPIC) for engineered gene drives

Dalton R. George, Todd Kuiken, and Jason A. DelborneProc. Royal Soc. B. Vol. 286, Issue 1917. Published: 18 December 2019.

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