University of Wyoming Extension News

UW plant geneticist explores genetically modified, genetically engineered processes

Robin Groose

Robin Groose

Genetically modified (GM) and genetically engineered (GE) will be compared and contrasted in a webinar Friday by a University of Wyoming professor of horticulture and plant breeding.

Robin Groose, an associate professor in the Department of Plant Sciences, is presenting “All food is genetically modified” at 1:10 p.m. in Room 1032 in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and accessible via the Web at http://goo.gl/oyPfTi.

The National Academy of Sciences notes GM is used interchangeably with GE in the popular vernacular, said Groose. According to the academy, GM refers to a range of methods to alter the genetic composition of a plant or animal, including traditional hybridization and breeding, and GE is one type of GM that involves making an intentional change in a plant or animal gene sequence for a specific result.

“I will discuss how many modern plant cultivars involve significant GM via myriad breeding techniques and multiple biotechnologies,” said Groose.

He’ll compare and contrast GE with several classical and ultra-modern plant breeding techniques as well as with biotechnologies that are not GE.

“Some question the safety of GE,” said Groose. “But I will ask the questions, “Is GE safer than conventional breeding?”

Groose joined UW in 1987.

Washakie County celebrates UW Outreach, UW Extension learning center

Former educator Jim Gill

Former educator Jim Gill

A long-time goal of creating a University of Wyoming Extension learning center in Worland is a reality.

            The Washakie County Commissioners, University of Wyoming Extension and the UW Outreach School have joined to offer UW classes and the Outreach Video Network (OVN) in the extension office in the Worland Community Center Complex.

            An open house is 4:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11, in the extension office at 1200 Culbertson, Suite G.

            “UW Outreach is providing the classes and the technology, and the extension office is providing a home for us,” said Beverly Bell, academic coordinator for the Northwest Region of the Outreach School. “It is the perfect partnership to provide educational opportunities to residents of Washakie County as well as reaching to nearby Hot Springs and Big Horn county towns.”

            A UW Extension learning center was a long-time goal of former Washakie County extension educator Jim Gill.

             Gill said he is pleased the center is becoming a reality.

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UW sophomore joins National Beef Ambassador Team

 

Rachel Purdy

Rachel Purdy

A sophomore agricultural business student at the University of Wyoming is one of five selected to the 2015 National Beef Ambassador Team.

Rachel Purdy, who is also a UW Ag Ambassador, said growing up on her family’s farm near Pine Bluffs spurred her passion for the beef and agricultural industries and motivated her to become an advocate.

“I really do enjoy consumer events,” Purdy said. “I think it’s a really good way to reach consumers because there’s no such thing as a stupid question, and it’s a good way to educate them and have a good conversation about why we eat beef and how it gets to the consumer’s plate.”

Other team members are Will Pohlman, Arkansas, Alicia Smith, Texas, Kalyn McKibben, Oklahoma, and Demi Snider, Ohio.

Purdy, a student in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, first competed in the junior level in 2011, where she not only made it to third place, but was inspired – and determined – to make the national team for ages 17-21.

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UW entomology professor’s book about rise of insects creates buzz

 

Scott Shaw

Scott Shaw

“Planet of the Bugs: Evolution and the Rise of Insects” by Scott Shaw at the University of Wyoming has drawn glowing comments from national and international reviewers, but bugs may be his final critics.

            Shaw, a professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, jokes that editions of his new (and first) book just might end up in the guts of some insects and the digital versions devoured by computer bugs.

            If that happens?

            “Dark justice,” said Shaw, and smiled.

            More about those critics later.

            Shaw tells the story of evolution of the dominant insect species and their shaping of life on earth, written with rich, descriptive images (you’ll walk with a contemplative Shaw in his prologue, sloshing his way along a rainforest trail oozing with slippery mud), has drawn glowing reviews from the Times Higher Education Review and New Scientist, inspired a cartoon in The New Yorker, and is on Google Books, Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, and other bookstores.

            He was invited and wrote an opinion piece “Bug Love” published August 23 in The New York Times.

            The resulting buzz seems to have little effect on Shaw, who joined UW as an assistant professor 25 years ago in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

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UW family and consumer sciences leader first male Phi Upsilon Omicron president

Bruce Cameron

Bruce Cameron

University of Wyoming family and consumer sciences department head Bruce Cameron in 2015 will become the first male president of Phi Upsilon Omicron, the first in its 105-year history.

Phi Upsilon Omicron is a national family and consumer sciences honor society that boasts over 95,000 members. Cameron is an associate professor in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

According to outgoing president Karol Blaylock, an associate professor at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, few men entered the field until a restructuring of what was then referred to as home economics.

“The honor society grew out of the need to honor scholars majoring in home economics in 1909,” she said. “Until the 1980s, very few males majored in home economics. So here we are now with Dr. Cameron leading this honor society of still mostly females.  He will impact the rest of the history of this wonderful organization.”

Blaylock said Cameron’s two-year position as president-elect, his advisory status for UW’s Delta Chapter and experience with leading other organizations have proven he has the skills necessary to be a successful leader for Phi U.

“Professor Cameron is a very intelligent, personable man with a great sense of humor, who will continue the feeling of family among the organization’s members,” Blaylock said. “He believes in nurturing leaders and supports students in all of their scholarly and professional endeavors. His continued contact with Phi U alumni will provide networking opportunities that will lead to internships and jobs for the graduating Phi U students at the national level.”