top of page

Cultivating Future Scientists


The Veldkos | Field Food DNA Project and DIPLOMICS' Vision for Genomic Education

In an innovative blend of education and research, The Veldkos | Field Food DNA Project by CenGen, supported by DIPLOMICS (Distributed Platform in Omics), is the ground-breaking initiative and brainchild of Renee Prins, that introduces high school learners to the fascinating world of plant genomics. Inspired by The Daffodil DNA Project, a collaborative school-based research programme decoding the DNA of Scottish Daffodils, CenGen and DIPLOMICS aim to instil a passion for scientific inquiry by involving students in hands-on genomics research, paving the way for future innovations and nurturing the next generation of scientific leaders in South Africa.

Moreover, this initiative's success is bolstered by CenGen’s collaboration with The Western Cape Education Department, Cape Winelands District, whose support has been instrumental. Their involvement ensured a competitive selection process that identified passionate and talented high school learners eager to step into the world of genomics. Through such partnerships, CenGen and DIPLOMICS remain committed to educating and inspiring South Africa's youth, building a strong foundation for the country's future in scientific innovation.

Centred on the genomic analysis of the Grootnoemnoem (Carissa macrocarpa), a native species previously lacking in genetic data, this project not only provides vital insights into South Africa's rich biodiversity but also serves as a practical classroom for aspiring young scientists.


The Veldkos | Field Food DNA Project aligns with DIPLOMICS' broader mission to democratise access to genomic science across South Africa, aiming to spark interest in the next generation of researchers. By involving students in the actual process of sequencing and analysing DNA, the initiative offers them a rare glimpse into the life of scientific research and the potential careers in this field.


This is more than just an educational program; it contributes directly to the 1KSA initiative (, which seeks to decode the genetic blueprint of 1,000 indigenous species, thereby enriching the global scientific community's understanding of biodiversity and its conservation.


This collaboration between educational institutions and DIPLOMICS not only equips learners with hands-on experience in cutting-edge genomic research but also emphasises the importance of preserving and understanding our natural heritage through science. As these young minds unravel the DNA of the Grootnoemnoem in the CenGen labs, they are not just learning about genetics; they are actively contributing to the creation of a draft reference genome that will support future research and conservation efforts.


Through the Veldkos | Field Food DNA Project, DIPLOMICS is nurturing a new wave of scientific talent and reinforcing the critical role of genomics in understanding and protecting our environment. This initiative exemplifies how educational outreach and research can merge to produce meaningful outcomes for both students and the scientific community, paving the way for a more informed and engaged future in the realm of genomics.

bottom of page