Professors and students of the center have made an excellent contribution, which eventually enabled the discovery of the Tomelloso virus.
The Eladio Cabañero high school of Tomelloso had a historic day yesterday, with the presentation of the #MelanogasterCTF citizen science project, of which students and teachers from the center have made a great contribution. The project, which began in October 2016 with the participation of over 200 students, has involved researching the adaptation genomics of the so-called fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) in different environments. This methodical and rigorous work, endorsed by the European Network of Citizen Science, has led to the discovery of the so-called Tomelloso Virus.
The event had a massive public presence in the IVICAM auditorium, with a majority presence of students and teachers. The presentation of the project results was also attended by the mayor, Inmaculada Jiménez; the Director of Agriculture of the Regional Board of Andalucía, Cruz Ponce; the PSOE councilor Sergio Olmedo; the PP councilors Javier Navarro and Carlos Herrera, the IU councilor, Rafael Quesada and the main protagonist of the project, the doctor and researcher at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology of Barcelona, Josefa González; in addition to the professors of the Institute, María Luisa Espinosa, Antonio Buendía and María José Gómez, who has guided and coordinated the students’ work.
The hard but exciting days of collecting flies in the melon fields of Eugenio Ruiz in 40C heat were followed by their classification in the laboratory and concluded with the analysis of the data. The students also had the opportunity to visit the Institute of Biology, dependent on the Spanish National Research Council. “In Tomelloso, everything we set out to do was successful”, said the mayor, Inmaculada Jiménez, who encouraged the project promoters to continue promoting science among teachers and students. Along the same lines, Cruz Ponce considered it a wise move “to bring research closer to young students who are the engines of the future. If we don’t, the countries stop. “
The project reached its goal with the discovery of the Tomelloso Virus by Dr. Darren J. Obbals. The researchers discovered six new DNA viruses, and one of them was only found in the samples that came from Tomelloso – hence the name.
Their teacher, María Luisa Espinosa, spoke of the landing of the project in the center. “They explained it to us and we saw that it was a great opportunity, especially for the students, who showed a great predisposition from the beginning to the end, as well as all the center’s departments”. María José Gómez expressed her satisfaction and pride “for having been able to participate in this great adventure that is science”. Marta Carretero and Pilar Buendía spoke on behalf of the students, who explained their experience of catching and classifying flies. “We saw very clearly the enormous amount of work involved in the implementation of any scientific project. But the discoveries they can improve the lives of others”, they said.
The projection of a video with the students and teachers during their research work, and the science and art show, “Molecular Plasticity” put the finishing touch to a magnificent act.
Text from La Voz de Tomelloso
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