Ever wonder how biotechnology helps you? Or, how scientists develop transgenic plants to make better-tasting fruit?

The University of Delaware is answering these questions, with the help of funding through a CSREES Higher Education Challenge grant. UD professors have created the Issues in Agricultural Biotechnology module, which allows people to more fully understand the generalities of biotechnology.

The Web site includes a 9-minute animation that demonstrates the process of developing a sweeter tomato. These plants are called transgenic plants, meaning an extra piece of DNA has been inserted into the native DNA. The animation guides the viewer through the entire process in a simple, easy-to-understand format.

The site also includes an Ask the Experts section, in which five experts in food safety, ethics, plant science and animal science take a look at current issues in biotechnology. The section, presented in video format, covers such topics as what transgenics means to you, benefits and promises of biotechnology, and risks and ethical concerns associated with biotechnology.

CSREES Higher Education Challenge grants address state, regional, national, and international educational needs; involve a creative or non-traditional approach toward addressing that need, which can serve as a model to others; encourage and facilitate better working relationships in the university science and education community; and result in benefits that will likely transcend the project duration and CSREES support.

The Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service advances knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and communities, by supporting research, education and extension programs in the Land-Grant University System and other partner organizations.

SOURCE: USDA CREES news release.