Scientists from Rothamsted Research and the University of Stirling have teamed up to prepare an interactive exhibit about making omega-3 fish oils in GM Camelina plants.
The teams will be taking the exhibit to Cheltenham Science Festival Explore Zone on 7-8 June and the Edinburgh Royal Highland Show 19-22 June 2014.
The exhibit was funded by a BBSRC science communication award and will be part of the Great British Bioscience Festival (GBBF) showcasing the best of British bioscience in BBSRC's 20th anniversary year.
Omega-3 fish oils are beneficial for our health which can help reduce our risk of heart attacks. However, they are a finite and limited resource. There are not enough beneficial omega-3 fish oils to satisfy our dietary requirements. Rothamsted Research scientists have developed GM Camelina plants that produce omega-3 fish oils when grown in the glass houses. Currently they are testing the performance of these plants in the field. Parts of the research are undertaken in collaboration with expert fish nutrition scientists at the Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling.
With this exhibit the public will be informed about the current sources of omega-3 fish oils and the challenges that this poses for nutritious, healthy, sustainable food production including aquaculture; explore and discuss plant biotechnology as a tool for alternative sustainable terrestrial sources of omega-3 fish oils; learn about the principles of genetics and GM plants. Wild type Camelina plants, Camelina seeds, fish feeds of different compositions as well as videos describing laboratory procedures will be on display.
As part of the exhibit a new video Game has been developed, in association with Game The News. Camelina Caper, a fast paced, light-hearted adventure that puts the player in control of a fish frantically searching for plankton and dodging jellyfish. Challenge your friends to beat your high score! Camelina Caper will be available on Apple and Android tablets.
Professor Johnathan Napier, lead scientist at Rothamsted Research said: "We are delighted our work has been selected to be part of this celebration of British bioscience research. Our participation in the Cheltenham Science Festival and the Edinburgh Royal Highland Show gives us a unique opportunity to reach people across the UK and discuss with the British public about our work."
On 14-16 November, the exhibit will be heading to Museum Gardens, Bethnal Green, London to be showcased at BBSRC's Great British Bioscience Festival. The festival, delivered in partnership with London Science Festival will be open to the general public and will be free to attend.
Professor Jackie Hunter, BBSRC Chief Executive: "The Great British Bioscience Festival will be a unique chance for BBSRC and our scientists to bring awe-inspiring bioscience research to East London. A variety of entertaining and engaging exhibitions will be on offer, highlighting the best of BBSRC sponsored world-leading bioscience."
For more information on the Great British Bioscience Festival visit:
Keep up to date with the latest festival news on Twitter using the hashtags #GBbioscifest and #LSF14.
Notes to editors
GBBF venue subject to licence.
Contacts (see below)
For information about the exhibit "Alpha & Omega; making fish oils in GM plants", please contact the Rothamsted Research Press Office.
For general information about GBBF, please contact the BBSRC Media Office.
For technical information about the video game, please contact Auroch Digital.
About Rothamsted Research
We are the longest running agricultural research station in the world, providing cutting-edge science and innovation for nearly 170 years. Our mission is to deliver the knowledge and new practices to increase crop productivity and quality and to develop environmentally sustainable solutions for food and energy production.
Our strength lies in the integrated, multidisciplinary approach to research in plant, insect and soil science. Rothamsted Research receives strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) of £27.2M per annum. www.rothamsted.ac.uk
About University of Stirling
The University of Stirling's Institute of Aquaculture is the leading international centre in its field and is the largest of its kind in the world. With an excellent RAE 2008 outcome, we bring together cross-disciplinary, world class researchers to meet the wide range of challenges faced as aquaculture grows to meet global demands. www.aqua.stir.ac.uk