Syngenta scientist explains why CRISPR technology is a vital tool in developing drought-tolerant crops in the film “Human Nature.”
By Karyn Ostrom / Photography by Karyn Ostrom
It’s a rare day when a research scientist has a moment in the limelight, let alone on the silver screen. However, Ian Jepson, Ph.D., head of trait research and developmental biology and site business head at Syngenta in Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina, recently experienced both. Jepson was among the experts featured in “Human Nature,” a documentary film that explores the immense potential that CRISPR genome-editing technology holds.
Ian Jepson, an @Syngenta scientist, explains in "Human Nature" documentary why CRISPR #tech is vital.
In a scene filmed at the Advanced Crop Lab in RTP, Jepson shared how CRISPR is a vital tool for developing drought-tolerant crops. “The genes we edited control how the pores on the outside of the leaves open and close,” Jepson explains, holding the leaf of a corn plant. “The stomata pores in plants will [typically] stay open during dry conditions. In the edited plant, those stomata pores close sooner under dry conditions, and the water is retained inside the plant."
“CRISPR is an incredible tool for finding new genes and has enormous potential for agriculture.”
During the “Human Nature” screening at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, North Carolina, Jepson along with Rodolphe Barrangou, Ph.D., a world-renowned expert in CRISPR technology from North Carolina State University, joined Adam Bolt, the film’s director, to answer audience questions about CRISPR and its applications.
“CRISPR is an incredible tool for finding new genes and has enormous potential for agriculture,” Jepson told the audience.
“Human Nature” debuted at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, in March 2019. Screenings at additional conferences and festivals followed, including the festival in Durham, which Jepson attended in April, as well as screenings in Copenhagen, Denmark; Toronto, Canada; and Newport Beach, California.
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