Newswise — The Genetics Society of America is pleased to announce that Tina Hesman Saey, a molecular biology writer with Science News, is the first recipient of the GSA Excellence in Research Journalism Award. Dr. Saey received this award in recognition of her article, “Molecular Evolution” printed in Science News on January 31, 2009 and also published online.

Dr. Saey’s article was selected based on its use of a model organism, in this case bacteria, to illustrate clearly the evolutionary pathways and the forces that affect those pathways, including random chance and evolutionary constraints, drift and environment. She “explained the science so well that it was a learning experience for readers,” said Dr. Scott Hawley, GSA President and a member of the review committee.

Dr. Saey, who has a Doctorate in Genetics from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master’s in Science Journalism from Boston University, has been a professional journalist for the last decade and has worked at Science News for the past three years. “I’m really thrilled I received this award. It’s a great validation of a lot of hard work I did on this story,” she said.

The award was developed by the GSA Board of Directors to honor journalists who provide outstanding coverage of basic genetics research that makes use of model organisms. Nominees, who submitted original reporting based on a new research finding or a review of current research, were judged on several criteria. Among them was the general interest of the story, whether it taught the reader biological principles about genetics, and whether they used other resources or opinions that present alternative views of the research. Saey’s article was successful in meeting those criteria.

Besides Hawley, the GSA review committee included Dr. Douglas Koshland (University of California, Berkeley) as chair, and Dr. Sally Camper (University of Wisconsin Medical School), Dr. Elizabeth De Stasio (Lawrence University, Kansas), and Dr. Elizabeth Ruedi, education programs manager for the Society.

Dr. Saey will be presented with a plaque recognizing her achievement at the GSA-sponsored Mouse Genetics Meeting, June 22-25, 2011 at The Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC.

ABOUT THE GENETICS SOCIETY OF AMERICAFounded in 1931, the Genetics Society of America (GSA) is the professional membership organization for geneticists and science educators who study model organisms. Its more than 4,000 members work to advance knowledge in the basic mechanisms of inheritance, from the molecular to the population level. The GSA is dedicated to promoting research in genetics and to facilitating communication among geneticists worldwide through the Genetics Society of America Conferences including the biennial conference on Model Organisms to Human Biology, an interdisciplinary meeting on current and cutting edge topics in genetics research, as well as annual and biennial meetings that focus on the genetics of particular organisms. GSA publishes GENETICS, the leading journal in the field. For more information about GSA, please visit

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