Inside look at genetic technology


AP Biology students attended a conference about Genetic Engineering and advancements in the field.

Olivia Kirklin, Editor-in-chief

AP Biology students attended a Genetic Engineering Conference at Frisco High School on Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Genetic Educator and Speaker Sam Rhines holds conferences each year to give updated information in genetic research to high school students and teachers. This year’s conference focused on two discoveries in the past decade which have changed the world of medical genetics, iPS and CRISPR.

“The program will began with an overview of human embryology and gametogenesis with particular emphasis on pluripotent and multipotent stem cells and their origins, embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells in the developing embryo,” Rhines said on his website.  “Stem cells, under the influence of specific sets of signals, have the ability to produce 220 types of cells in the developing fetus. The discovery of these signals led to the possibility of one day being able to produce any specific type of human cell in the laboratory.”

Packets with notes were given to help students better understand the topics discussed at the conference, and how they apply to the real world.

“They gave us a packet at the conference that had notes that went along with the powerpoint Sam Rhines presented to us,” junior Neha Perumalla said. “He spoke about future innovations such as CRISPR and IPS and the process of fertilization to pregnancy, and we learned about the applications to real world situations such as curing Parkinson’s.”

For many students, the conference helped them to understand the field of genetic engineering and why it is necessary to study.

“The purpose of the conference was to teach us about new technology being used to treat genetic diseases and to show us everything being studied in the field across the world,” senior Zach Meade said. “I think the conference attracted us to have a career in that particular field because although it’s being studied across the world, the research will always need more advancements.”