Newswise — BETHESDA, MD – April 18, 2012 -- The Genetics Society of America (GSA) invites the public to visit its exhibit booth, “America’s Next Top Model Organism,” at the 2nd USA Science & Engineering Festival (USASEF) in Washington, D.C., April 28-29, 2012, and examine the workhorses of genetics research, including live mice, fruit flies, fungi, and Arabidopsis plants. Learn why geneticists conduct research on these systems and then vote for your favorite model organism.

The GSA exhibit will feature several activities. Participants will be able to observe normal (or “wildtype”) and mutant examples of mice, fruit flies, fungi, and Arabidopsis plants. Students will be able to “build-a-fly” based on common genetic traits – eyes, wings and other characteristics – to take home with them. GSA will also demonstrate the impact of evolution by illustrating how modern-day corn was bred from ancient maize. Most importantly, visitors will be able to learn about genetics research from practicing scientists who are GSA members. They will be volunteering at the booth to help with activities and answer questions.

“This is an exciting outreach opportunity for GSA,” said Adam Fagen, Ph.D., Executive Director. “We look forward to engaging directly with the public to explain the value of genetics for enhancing our understanding of the natural world, including the contributions of scientific research on model organisms such as mice, fruit flies, fungi, and plants,” he added.

The USAEF is designed to “celebrate science” and is being held Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, April 29, 2012 in downtown Washington, D.C. with satellite events worldwide. The Festival, which includes an Expo & Book Fair, is a free event open to children and adults, and features more than 3,000 fun, interactive exhibits – including GSA’s – plus more than 100 stage shows and 33 author presentations. Several hundred thousand people attended the first USASEF in 2010.

The Exhibit Hall is open to the general public, Saturday, April 28, from 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM, and Sunday, April 29, from 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW, near the Mt. Vernon Sq/7th St – Convention Center Metro stop. The GSA booth is 2711 and is located in Hall A, to the left of the exhibit entrance and near the National Institutes of Health exhibit. For more information on GSA’s involvement in the USASEF, contact Beth Ruedi at [email protected].

About the USA Science & Engineering Festival: The USA Science & Engineering Festival is the country’s only national science festival, and was developed to increase public awareness of the importance of science and to encourage youth to pursue careers in science and engineering by celebrating science in much the same way as we celebrate Hollywood celebrities, professional athletes and pop stars. Lockheed Martin is again the presenting host of the USA Science & Engineering Festival and is joined by many other Festival sponsors and partners. The USA Science & Engineering Festival is a grassroots collaboration of over 500 of the United States leading science and engineering organizations. For more information on the USA Science & Engineering Festival, please visit the Festival website.

ABOUT GSA: Founded in 1931, the Genetics Society of America (GSA) is the professional membership organization for scientific researchers, educators, bioengineers, bioinformaticians and others interested in the field of genetics. Its nearly 5,000 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 its 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, including C. elegans, Drosophila, fungi, mice, yeast, and zebrafish. GSA publishes GENETICS, a leading journal in the field and a new online, open-access publication, G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics. For more information about GSA, please visit Also follow GSA on Facebook at and on Twitter @GeneticsGSA.