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GMAC Students Challenge 2019 - "Development of Genetically Modified Food"

GMAC Students Challenge 2019

The GMAC Students Challenge is back in 2019!

With the discovery of the DNA by Watson and Crick in 1953, gene technology has expanded over the years to enable scientists to study gene expression, gene variation, modifying genes and transferring genes to new hosts. With the advent of new technologies such as sequencing, microarrays, marker-assisted breeding and RNAi amongst many others, the array of products that can be produced has largely increased.

Through this understanding, genetic modification has evolved, encompassing the use of different technologies to characterize, isolate, sequence and transfer genes/traits that may be beneficial for use in agriculture.

The theme of this year's competition is "Development of Genetically Modified Food". Participants are given the autonomy to choose a genetically modified crop from the list below which they wish to focus on.

  1. Antibiotic-resistant tobacco plant 1983
  2. Genetically engineered Escherichia Coli, 1990,
  3. Flavr Savr™, 1992
  4. Glyphosate Resistant Soybean, 1996
  5. Hawaiian Rainbow Papaya, 1998
  6. IRRI golden rice, 2000
  7. Glofish®, 2003
  8. University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad (UAS) and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) Bt Brinjal, 2005
  9. AquAdvantage® Salmon, 2010
  10. Simplot Innate® Potatoes, 2014
  11. Arctic® Apples, 2015
  12. Dr Yinong Yang's Gene-Edited Mushroom, 2016

Each team is tasked to conceptualize, design and produce an A1-size infograph in line with the task and theme given. The infograph shall explain how the technology was used to produce the product, focusing on the technologies used. Explanations on gene extraction/isolation, plasmid/vector choice and gene delivery methods shall be included.

Submissions will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Objectivity
  • Creativity
  • Relevance to Theme
  • Public Votes

The three best teams will be awarded cash vouchers, to be shared among group members, as follows:

     First Prize               S$800
     Second Prize          S$400
     Third Prize              S$200

Consolation prizes in the form of cash vouchers (S$100 per group) will also be given out to deserving teams.

The Timeline for the GMAC Students Challenge 2019 is as follows:

Date Action
28 January Invitation for Registration for GSC 2019
1 March GSC 2019 Registration Deadline
4 May GSC 2019 Infographic Poster Submission
27 May Announcement of Preliminary Results, top 10 teams proceed to GSC 2019 Finals
5 July *Tentative GMAC Students Challenge 2019 Finals

Thank you to all participants for submitting your hard-work!

We are in the midst of assessing the posters submitted and will be posting the shortlisted teams up here on this webpage!

Do keep a lookout on this page for the shortlisted teams. We will also be contacting your teachers should you be shortlisted!

P.S. In the meanwhile, what ideas would you have for the final judging round?


GMAC Public Seminar 2018 with Em. Prof. Marc Van Montagu

GMAC Public Seminar Poster December 2018

It was an honor to have Baron Emeritus Professor Marc Van Montagu in Singapore to speak on "Science, Ideology and Daily Life - The Case of GM Crops". Professor Van Montagu is the pioneer in plant molecular biology, having made ground-breaking discoveries in Agrobacterium-mediated plant transformation technology. The philosophical session with Prof Van Montagu held many touch-points to why and how we can save this planet through the use of science. It was quite a turnout of people from varying industries and backgrounds and we hope everyone has had a great learning session.

A big Thank You to Prof. Van Montagu for sharing his thoughts and ideas. We appreciate the time and effort taken from his schedule to have this short session with us.

Thank you to all participants for a wonderful and fruitful session with our extraordinary guest.

We hope to see all you participants in future of such events hosted by GMAC!

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Slides to the Seminar by Prof Van Montagu are available on request. Kindly drop us an email should you wish to have a copy.


PAST EVENTS & ACTIVITIES

GMAC seeks to objectively impart scientifically-sound information on GM technology and GMOs to the public. Since its establishment in 1999, GMAC has been making ongoing efforts to create and enhance public awareness on GM issues. Some of the public events and activities taken on by GMAC are as follows:

ILSI, GMAC, USDA Public Forum on "Update on Safety Assessment and Perspectives on Regulatory Development of GM Food Crops and New Plant Breeding Technologies, 2 July 2018

GMAC, together with the International Life Science Institute South East Asia (ILSI-SEA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS) and Croplife Asia co-organized a Forum on "Update on Safety Assessment and Perspectives on Regulatory Development of GM Food Crops and New Plant Breeding Technologies". The Public Seminar was attended by an audience largely hailing from the research community, regulatory agencies and industry. The seminar provided insights to regulatory processes relating to stacked events, updates on the New Breeding Technologies and a new regulatory cooperation initiative for food safety assessment of GM crops. Speakers include Dr Les Copeland (University of Sydney, Australia), Dr Tadahisa Manabe (Syngenta Asia Pacific) and Dr Carl Ramage (Rautaki Solutions, Australia).



GMAC Students Challenge 2018 - GM Crops: A Key Contibutor to Food Security?

The Subcommittee for Public Awareness organized the GMAC Students Challenge 2018, themed "GM Crops: A Key Contributor to Food Security?". The competition attracted 19 teams from 11 secondary schools.

Out of the 19 teams, 10 teams were shortlisted for progression into the final judging round held on 13 July at Matrix, Biopolis. The 10 team finalists presented their poster to the judges and audiences, capturing the audiences with songs, confetti and skits.

All participating teams displayed good presentation skills and great knowledge on the topic. Congratulations to Nanyang Girls' High School, St Joseph's Institution Team 1 and Hwa Chong Institution Team 1 for clinching the top three prizes!


GMAC Movie Screening 2018 - "Food Evolution" by Neil deGrasse Tyson

GMAC organised two Friday Movie Night Events on the 8th and 22nd June 2018, screening the light-hearted movie "Food Evolution", a 2016 documentary directed by Scott Hamilton Kennedy. It was a privilege to be the first in Singapore to screen this movie. The movie follows advocates from both sides of the GMO debate, underscoring key issues in food safety, environmental protection and general health. With a turnout of over a hundred attendees on both dates combined, GMAC reached out to various individuals from the Public, dwelling into the topics widely debated in the Food Controversy of GMOs with the following Panel Experts:

Prof Paul Teng, National Institute of Education (International)

Prof Uttam Surana, Principal Investigator at the Institute for Molecular and Cell Biology

Dr Hong Yan, Senior Lecturer at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore








For more information to the movie, please visit the Food Evolution Website for more details.



GMAC Student Challenge 2017 - Food for Thought: Genetically Modified (GM) Crops

The Subcommittee on Public Awareness organized the GMAC Student Challenge 2017 on the theme "Food for thought: Genetically Modified (GM) Crops" which attracted applications from 14 schools with a total of 25 teams.

Out of the 25 teams, 10 teams were shortlisted for progression into the final judging round which was held on 7 July at Science Centre Singapore. The 10 team finalists presented their poster to the judges and audience using creative platforms such as skits and catchy raps.

All participating teams displayed excellent team spirit and enthusiasm. Congratulations to Team 1 and 2 of NUS High School and Team 1 of Nanyang Girls School for clinching the top 3 prizes!



GMAC Seminar on "Genome Editing: Applications in Agriculture and Health, Regulatory Challenges and Future Directions", 22 February 2017

GMAC through its Subcommittee on Public Awareness organized a seminar on "The Advancing Landscape of Genome Editing in Singapore: Applications in Agriculture and Health, Regulatory Challenges and Future Directions." The seminar took place on 22 February 2017 at Breakthrough Auditorium, Biopolis with a turnout of over 80 participants, hailing from the research community, academia, the industries, statutory boards and ministries.

The seminar provided participants with a more in-depth understanding to the growing trends in the field of genome editing, applications, key regulatory and ethical challenges as well as the use of science communication in facilitating the adoption.



GMAC - ILSI Public Seminar on "Sustainable Food Security in ASEAN - Role of Genetics and New Technologies (Singapore)", 5 September 2016

GMAC together with International Life Science Institute Southeast Asia (ILSI-SEA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS) and American Association of Cereal Chemists (AACCI) co-organized a seminar and workshop on 'Sustainable Food Security in ASEAN - Role of Genetics and New Technologies'.

The public seminar was attended by an audience of about 80, hailing from the research community, institutes, the industries, statutory boards and ministries. The seminar provided useful insights to key challenges, trends and applications of current plant breeding techniques and new plant breeding technologies. Speakers include GMAC Chairman, Prof. Paul Teng, Prof. Timothy Murray (Washington State University, USA), Mr. Sean Roberts (Syngenta, Singapore), Dr Anne Bridges (AACCI, USA), Prof. Les Copeland (University of Sydney, Australia), Mr. Jonathan Fischer (Cargill, USA), Dr. Allan Lim (Nestle, Singapore) and Dr. Janet Gorst (Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), Australia).



GMAC - ILSI Public Seminar on "Crop Improvement for Food and Nutrition Security in Southeast Asia", 20 November 2015

GMAC in collaboration with International Life Science Institute, Southeast Asia (ILSI-SEA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) co-organized a seminar on 'Crop Improvement for Food and Nutrition Security in Southeast Asia' to discuss the role of plant improvement technologies in the process of crop improvement to address food and nutrition security.

The seminar was open to public and was attended by an audience of about 45; hailing from the research community, the industries, statutory boards and ministries. The seminar provided useful insights into the various key challenges, trends and roles of conventional and genetic engineered plants breeding techniques. Speakers include GMAC's Chairman Prof Paul Teng, Mr Ashish Wee from HarvestPlus USA, Dr Donald Mackenzie from International Rice Research Institute, Philippines and Prof Wayne Parrott from University of Georgia, USA.



GMAC Students Challenge 2015 Finals, Infographic Poster Exhibition

The GMAC Students Challenge 2015 is part of GMAC's continuing efforts to enhance public awareness on GM technologies. As with 2014, secondary school students were invited to create an infographic poster based on the theme "Spy on GM". 38 teams from 21 schools participated in the challenge. Out of these, 10 finalists were shortlisted for finals.

You may visit our Facebook Page to view the infographs of the finalists or find out the results of the year's competition.


GMAC Public Forum with Mr Jack A Bobo, 23 September 2014

GMAC was privileged to have Mr Jack A Bobo speak about global trends on food and agriculture pertaining to science and technology. Mr Bobo is the Senior Advisor for Biotechnology in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (EB) at the U.S. Department of State. He also serves as the Chief of the Department’s Biotechnology and Textile Trade Policy Division.

Mr. Bobo is responsible for developing and implementing U.S. trade policy related to new agricultural technologies and working with foreign governments to address regulatory barriers to U.S. agricultural exports. He also works closely with officials from developing countries to support the development of biosafety legislation and facilitate technology transfer to increase agricultural productivity, improve food security and respond to climate change through mitigation and adaptation.

GMAC shares the summary of Mr Bobo's talk in the form of an infograph below:


GMAC Students Challenge 2014 Finals, Infographic Poster Exhibition

The GMAC Students Challenge 2014 is part of GMAC's ongoing efforts to enhance public awareness on matters relating to GM technology and GMOs. This year, secondary school students were invited to create an infographic poster based on the theme "ABCs of GM". 17 schools and 28 teams participated in this year's challenge. Out of the 28 teams, 10 teams were shortlisted for the finals.

You can visit our Facebook Page to view the finalists or find out the results of this year's competition. The GMAC Students Challenge 2014 Infographic Exhibition Finals saw the 10 team finalists presenting their poster and answering grueling questions from the judges. There was also be a Q&A session with the expert panel to answer the public queries on the genetic modification technology.

Photos of the event can be found here.


GMAC Public Forum with Mr Graham Brookes, 30 May 2014

Global Impact of Biotech Crops: Economic & Environmental Effects, 1996 – 2012

Mr Graham Brookes, an agricultural economist and consultant, delivered a keynote lecture on the global economic and environmental effects of biotech crops from 1996 to 2012. He addresses the benefits that genetically modified crops have delivered which include improved environmental effects, decreased dependance on pesticides and herbicides and increased yield. This lecture was based on two reports that are readily available at www.pgeconomics.co.uk. The lecture was followed by a question & answer session where members of the audience asked questions ranging from EU regulations on GM crops and herbicide resistant crops to food safety issues.

The following infograph summarizes the key points in the lecture:
Source: MABIC
Source: MABIC, www.bic.org.my


GMAC Student Challenge 2013

The GMAC Students Challenge is back once again! And with a bigger grand prize in 2013! Students from secondary schools were invited to submit an video clip on this year's theme of The Future: Possibilities and Limitations of GM Technology". Shortlisted entries were showcased on the GMAC Students Challenge Facebook page where your family and friends can view them! The shortlistees were also featured in a screening event in August 2013.


GMAC Student Challenge 2012

GMAC Students Challenge 2012
The GMAC Students Challenge opens this year once again to students from local secondary schools. This event is part of GMAC's latest initiative in enhancing public awareness of matters relating to GM technology and GMOs. Students are invited to create a short documentary clip depicting the role of agricultural biotechnology in mitigating climate change. Shortlisted entries were displayed on Facebook where members of the public can vote for their favourite shortlistees. The competition ended with a screening session in Biopolis. Photos of the event can be found here.


GMAC Student Challenge 2011

GMAC Students Challenge 2011
The GMAC Students Challenge opens this year once again to students from local secondary schools. This event is part of GMAC's latest initiative in enhancing public awareness of matters relating to GM technology and GMOs. Students are invited to create a short documentary clip depicting the rold of agricultural biotechnology in mitigating climate change. Shortlisted entries were displayed on Facebook where members of the public can vote for their favourite shortlistee. The competition ended with a screening session in Biopolis. Photos of the event can be found here.


Public Forum on Science Communication, 6 Apr 2011

Public Forum on Science Communication - Communicating Crop Biotechnology: Experiences from the Developing World At the invitation of The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), GMAC co-hosted with ISAAA the Public Forum on Science Communication alongside with the National Institute of Education (NIE). This is in conjunction with ISAAA’s annual meeting of Biotechnology Information Centre representatives in Singapore this year. The event also included a book release and a biotechnology-inspired fashion show. Audience attending the public forum hailed from a myriad of organisations from the scientific research community, industries, schools and tertiary institutions, statutory boards and ministries. The event was also covered by the local Mandarin newspapers, Lianhe ZaoBao.


Video Screening Session of the GMAC Student Reporters' Challenge 2009

Video Screening Session of the GMAC Student Reporters' Challenge 2009
130 students from 20 local secondary school interviewed Residents of the Singapore Heartlands for their perceptions towards genetically modified (GM) foods, and created video clips aimed at demystifying gene modification technology, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and GM foods, as they competed in the GMAC Student Reporters’ Challenge 2009. Shortlisted entries to the competition were screened on 5 Sep 2009 to an audience of about 200 people in Biopolis. Click here to find out more about the GMAC Student Reporters' Challenge 2009 and the Video Sceening Session! 24 July 2008

Discussion Forum on "Science, Politics and Activism in the Biotech Revolution"
Professor Lee Sing Kong (Co-Deputy Chairman, GMAC) chaired a discussion forum on "Science, Politics and Activism in the Biotech Revolution" at the NUS High School of Mathematics and Science. Associate Professor Peter Droge (Chairman, GMAC Subcommittee on the Release of Agriculture-Related GMOs) and Dr Henry Miller (Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University) were also present on the discussion panel to answer students' questions on GM-related issues.


The GMAC Student Reporters’ Challenge 2008

The GMAC Student Reporters’ Challenge 2008
The GMAC Student Reporters’ Challenge 2008 was a creative writing and design competition organized in conjunction with the launch of the revamped GMAC website. The competition attracted more than 250 participants from 26 primary schools and 29 secondary schools in Singapore. As "Student Reporters", the participants attended the GMAC Press Event - a mega "press conference" during which they were given opportunities to pose GM-related questions to an expert panel comprising scientists and regulators. The "Student Reporters" then created newsletters to present their findings. Click here to view selected articles from the Challenge. 15 February 2007 – 15 March 2007
Lectures at the Ministry of Health

On the invitation of the Ministry of Health, Associate Professor Raymond Lin and Dr Hong Yan of the GMAC Subcommittee on the Release of Agriculture-Related GMOs delivered a series of lectures on GM-related topics to healthcare professionals.


On “Consumer Watch” of 93.8 LIVE, 6 Feb 2007

On “Consumer Watch” of 938LIVE
Professor Lee Sing Kong (Co-Deputy Chairman, GMAC) and Mr Seah Seng Choon (CASE representative on GMAC) were interviewed in the 938LIVE radio programme, “Consumer Watch”.


Public Forum "Commercialization of biotech crops 1996-2006: future prospects", Jan 2007

Public Forum "Commercialization of biotech crops 1996-2006: future prospects"
Dr Clive James of the ISAAA delivered a keynote lecture on the future prospects of biotech crops, including their potential contribution to the Millennium Development goal of alleviating poverty and hunger by 50% by 2015 and their potential role in the production of biofuels. His lecture was followed by a Question-and-Answer session, where members of the public had their questions on biotech crops answered by GMAC representatives and guest speakers.


Interview in “The Living Room” of 93.8LIVE, 22 Jan 2007

Interview in “The Living Room” of 938LIVE
Professor Lee Sing Kong and Dr Hong Yan went on air in the 938LIVE radio programme, “The Living Room”.