GSA News

July 14, 2010   


Planning for the Future:  The GSA and its members face numerous challenges as we work together to advance the science of genetics. In response to those challenges, the Board of Directors of GSA is working to develop a strategic plan that will guide GSA’s programs and growth in the next several years. As a GSA member, your opinions, needs, and vision for the future of GSA are key to this process. Later this month you will receive a link to our strategic planning survey. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey and add your valuable input to the strategic plan.

Calling all students and postdoctoral fellows!  Have you been wanting to attend a particular conference or course, but find yourself lacking in funds?  You are invited to apply for one of 12 DeLill Nasser Travel Awards to be made this fall. These awards of $1,000 each defray the cost of travel and accommodations for the recipient to attend a conference, meeting, or course that will significantly contribute to the recipient’s career in genetics.  We are currently accepting applications for meetings or courses that take place January 1 – June 30, 2011. Deadline for applications is September 30.  There will be a second round of awards (deadline March 15) for travel to meetings or courses that take place July 1 – December 31, 2011.

GSA members are invited to nominate their colleagues for the 2011 GSA Awards. These include the GSA Medal, the Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal, the George W. Beadle Award, the Elizabeth Jones Award for Excellence in Education, and the Edward Novitski Prize. Deadline for nominations is September 30.

Erratum:  The last edition of the GSA eNews contained an incorrect link for the GenomeWeb report on Eric Vilain’s talk on sexual orientation and DNA methylation from MOHB 2010.  We apologize!  To view the blog posting about Eric Vilain’s presentation, click here.

Genetics to the rescue!  The Canine Combined DNA Index System (Canine Codis) has been developed in an effort to track and implicate abusers involved in dog fighting.  Canine Codis will store dogs’ DNA profiles, and will provide investigators with insight into a dog’s history of abuse by tracing its ancestry back to known dog fighting bloodlines.  Ideally, if dogs are seized during a criminal investigation and their DNA profile is run through Canine Codis, it will allow law enforcement and prosecutors to establish ties between the dogs’ bloodlines and the breeders, owners, and pit operators known to be associated with those bloodlines.


The president of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), William T. Talman, has written an open letter to the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee urging that the budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) be $37 billion in 2011.  Talman is quoted as saying “I am committed to working closely with FASEB societies to let Congress know that it is important to position NIH along a path of sustainable, predictable growth and am confident that the researchers and scientists we represent will actively support this effort as we work together as a federation toward this common goal.”  GSA has been a member of FASEB since January 2010.


With technological tools developing and improving at an exponential rate, it is perhaps no surprise that undergraduate cheating and plagiarism is increasing just as rapidly.  A recent article in the New York Times highlights the “co-evolution” of pro- and anti-cheating software on the web, noting that a survey of 14,000 undergraduates at varying universities revealed that 61% of students admitted to cheating on homework or exams.  Think that your genetics students are also part of this epidemic?  Check out these two popular sites, CourseHero and Cramster, which were originally intended to simply provide homework help but are now frequently used to cheat.  To combat this problem, get familiar with TurnItIn, an anti-plagiarism teaching tool available online and widely used by many universities.


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