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Foods to go under microscope at UHV workshop

When visiting the grocery store, shoppers typically consider price, brand and appearance while making product selections.

Though not physically obvious, another important factor to some shoppers is whether the food is genetically modified. Under the guidance of a University of Houston-Victoria professor, high school students will have the opportunity to find out what foods are modified and what implications technology could have on the future of food.

The Genetically Modified Foods Workshop will be July 16 and 17 at the University of Houston Sugar Land, where UHV offers many of the degree programs. The workshop is open to students in ninth through 12th grades and participants have a choice of attending a morning session from 8:30 to 11:30 or an afternoon session from 1 to 4. Both sessions will take place in the biology lab at Brazos Hall, 14004 University Blvd.

Siva Somasundaram, UHV director of undergraduate biology studies, said the idea behind the workshop is to shed light on what people are eating. He said many people love to eat, but they aren’t aware of how food is altered. This could have an impact on people trying to lose weight as they sometimes can’t tell what products will help or hurt their cause.

One example of a practical use is for people with food allergies. Allergies typically prevent consumption of certain types of foods or ingredients. But with modified genetics, it is possible allergy-free grains or proteins can be developed, Somasundaram said.

Registration for the workshop is $50. The deadline to sign up has been extended to July 5. To register, contact Nancy Penry at 361-570-4366 or penryn@uhv.edu.

Somasundaram said students participating in the workshop are welcome to come back to the biology lab to work on projects for science fairs during the school year. He said they also can write about their findings in a high school science journal.

For more information about the workshop, contact Somasundaram at 281-275-8808 or somasundarams@uhv.edu.

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