The Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Pretoria on 1 September hosted a School Science Day for Grade 11 learners and teachers from Woodhill College. Themed “GMOs: The future of sustainable agriculture?”, the aim of the day was to introduce the pupils to the various science disciplines within the department. Several FABI members of staff and students in the department took part; including Prof. Dave Berger who introduced the learners to genetically modified organisms and Dr. Bridget Crampton who discussed the generation of GMOs and biosafety.

The learners were given a mini-project to work on which involved testing for GMOs on various food products. Through this exercise, the learners were introduced to the inner workings of a laboratory as well as issues of safety and etiquette. The group was educated on why the Plant Science Complex is referred to as a “Green” building by the curator of our botanical garden, Jason Sampson.

The day was organised by PhD student Johan Liversage, who was assisted by postgraduate students in the department including Sewes Alberts, Tintswalo Baloyi, Zane Coles, Bianca Fibrich, Lizo Masters, Candice McGladdery, Zimbili MlunjwaMolly Molefo, Thabang Msimango and Liezl van der Hoven. Sponsorship by Inqaba Biotec, Lasec and the South African National Seed Organisation made the day’s activities possible.     

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Human ZR, Crous CJ, Roets F, Venter SN, Wingfield MJ, de Beer ZW. (2017) Biodiversity and ecology of flower-associated actinomycetes in different flowering stages of Protea repens. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 10.1007/s10482-017-0942-3
Wingfield BD. (2017) The peer review system has flaws. But it’s still a barrier to bad science. The Conversation http://bit.ly/2holsgS
McTaggart AR, Beasley DR, Wingfield MJ, Wood AR, Pretorius ZA, Drenth A, Shivas RG, Roux J. (2017) A dynamic, web-based resource to identify rust fungi (Pucciniales) in southern Africa. MycoKeys 26:77-83. 10.3897/mycokeys.26.14602
De Maayer P, Aliyu H, Vikram S, Blom J, Duffy B, Cowan DA, Smits THM, Venter SN, Coutinho TA. (2017) Phylogenomic, pan-genomic, pathogenomic and evolutionary genomic insights into the agronomically relevant enterobacteria Pantoea ananatis and Pantoea stewartii. Frontiers in Microbiology 8(1755) 10.3389/fmicb.2017.01755
Jami F, Wingfield MJ, Gryzenhout M, Slippers B. (2017) Diversity of tree-infecting Botryosphaeriales on native and non-native trees in South Africa and Namibia. Australasian Plant Pathology 10.1007/s13313-017-0516-x