Nina V. Fedoroff
National Medal of Science
For her pioneering work on plant molecular biology, and for her being the first to clone and characterize maize transposons. She has contributed to education and public policy pertaining to recombinant DNA and genetic modification of plants."
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BirthApril 9, 1942
Country of BirthUSA
Key ContributionsFirst To Clone Maize Transposons
Awarded byGeorge W. Bush
Areas of ImpactEnergy & Environment
AffiliationsPennsylvania State University
Nina V. Fedoroff is known for her pioneering work advancing DNA sequencing and is credited with producing one of the first complete animal gene sequences. Her work also has applications for understanding the genes of plants, and advanced cloning and control of molecular mechanisms. She has now focused her research on understanding the mechanisms that make plants resistant to both biological and non-biological stresses, including heat and salt.
Her research involves studying the genetic modification of plants, it’s relation to pest control, and crop tolerance. She is also an advocate for destigmatizing genetically modified food.
“There’s almost no food that isn’t genetically modified. Genetic modification is the basis of all evolution,” she told The New York Times. “Things change because our planet is subjected to a lot of radiation, which causes DNA damage, which gets repaired, but results in mutations, which create a ready mixture of plants that people can choose from to improve agriculture. In the last century, as we learned more about genes, we were able to devise ways of accelerating evolution.”
By Christine Ayala