Team:WashU StLouis/Outreach


Team nitroGENIUS Reaches Out

NitroGenius comments

Did you know that at the rate that agriculture is expanding and at the rate that the population is growing, we probably will reach a global food shortage in less than a century? Yeah, neither did we. Agriculture has a big job ahead of it, and unfortunately, the abundance and simultaneous lack of nitrogen in some places is a major stumbling block.

When brainstorming project ideas, our advisors set us on the path of genetic engineering as a way to solve this nitrogen problem in agriculture. As we started to develop and really flesh out our project, we realized that the majority of the GMO publicity on the internet was caustically negative and that most contributors did not have a proper understanding of what a GMO was or how it was created. Of course, people are completely entitled to avoid GMOs as a personal decision, but that personal decision should be based on accurate information, right? We knew at that moment that someone had to begin disseminating the facts via the same medium, and thus, the nitroGENIUS miniseries was born.

Comprising six short episodes explaining the agricultural dilemma and the industrial process of developing GMOs, our video series presents scientific information in a casual, colloquial manner with laughably amateur animations. Amassing more than 600 views on YouTube, our videos have been called "probably one of the best lay explanation[s] regard to the process and planning involved [in GMO production]" by academics and are even being used as teachers as a model for similar projects. While creating these videos, we have come to a greater understanding of the potential advances that genetic engineering can bring to the table (haha, agriculture, food, you get it). Additionally, we have determined that one of the best ways to inform people is to address them in a comfortable way--short videos with unintimidating graphics and straightforward language are relatable and effective. We hope that our videos continue to educate people about the nitrogen problem in agriculture and the true nature of GMOs and inspire our peers to employ similar method to educate the world about other important issues. Until then.

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