The Next Science Guy?

We all know that GMOs are controversial, but what, exactly, are they? For a matter-of-fact explanation, check out the short animated video that Antonio Alonso-Stepanov created for YouTube.

Through the video, the 10-year-old son of two College of Agriculture and Life Sciences plant biologists hopes to dispel some of the myths surrounding genetically modified organisms and how they are made.

Antonio Alonso-Stepanov with his parents in their growth chamber at NC State.
Antonio (center) with his parents Jose Alonso and Anna Stepanova of the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology.

“When you look up GMOs on the internet, there are lots of images of apples being injected with syringes full of chemicals,” Antonio says. “And that’s not how GMOs are made.

“I didn’t necessarily want to say that GMOs are not bad,” adds the rising sixth-grader at Dillard Drive Middle School, “but I wanted to explain what they were so the people who watched the videos could decide.”

To make sure his explanation of GMOs was accurate, Antonio enlisted the expertise of his parents, Drs. Jose Alonso and Anna Stepanova of the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology.

“Because they are biologists, they know a lot about GMOs,” he says.

Like his parents, Antonio hopes one day to be a scientist or possibly an engineer. In the meantime, he’s gotten off to a promising start. In addition to the GMO video, he’s also created other videos about topics ranging from time travel to atomic bombs — all of which have gotten plenty of YouTube’s signature thumbs up.

-D. Shore