plant breeding

As a child, I remember feeling hungry most of the time. Growing up in rural Tanzania, I walked to school barefoot and most of the time had one meal a day. After school, I helped my mother with various farming chores, including feeding the animals, weeding, harvesting and planting. I often heard my mother express concerns about the lack of ways to protect our crops from drought, pests and diseases. I wanted to help my mother but was too young to understand what the solution might be.

By Fred Love, University News Service

AMES, Iowa – The immense number of possible hybrids that can be created from inbred corn plants can leave plant breeders wondering where to start when attempting to produce new crop varieties with desirable traits. But new research from an Iowa State University agronomist shows how advanced data mining techniques can enhance the efficiency of the process.

Kyle A King
Sotirios Archontoulis
Jode Edwards

AMES, Iowa – The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is honoring seven Iowa State University researchers for their work in agriculture, biological sciences, chemistry and engineering, including our Dr. Jianming Yu.

The seven are among 416 researchers from around the world who make up this year’s class of AAAS Fellows, the association announced today. The new fellows are being recognized “because of their efforts toward advancing science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished.” Dr. Yu joins the limited company of only 40 other faculty at Iowa State University as a AAAS Fellow.

Matheus Dalsente Krause
Graduate Assistant-Research

“Transgenic Approaches In Managing Sudden Death Syndrome In Soybean”

Our long-term goal is to create soybean cultivars resistant to soybean sudden death syndrome (SDS). Soybean is one of the world’s most valuable crops and the U.S. is the world leader in soybean production. In 2010 the U.S. soybean crop value was over $38.9 billion. Soybean suffers yield suppression from various biotic stresses, including SDS, which in 2010 caused losses valued at $0.82 billion. 

 

The transdisciplinary project team consists of experts from states and countries where soybean is an important crop: Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Brazil and Argentina.  

Africa needs plant breeders to fight food insecurity. Our Plant Breeding E-Learning in Africa program is part of an effort to help educate the next generation of plant breeders in Africa thanks to support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The National Association of Plant Breeders announced their first group of graduate and undergraduate Borlaug Scholars, and our students took three of the eight awards. Our Katelyn Fritz and Andrew Herr, juniors in Agronomy, were selected Borlaug Undergraduate Scholars. Our Kevin Falk, graduate student with Dr. Asheesh (Danny) Singh, was selected Borlaug Graduate Scholar.

Katelyn Fritz

"Borlaug increased yield and got calories to everyone," said Fritz. "I want to leverage breeding to make those calories more nutricious."

As planting gets underway for farmers and researchers, Dr. Asheesh Singh's soybean lab will be able to plant more efficiently thanks to a donation from Monsanto. The St. Louis based agriculture company develops products and tools to help farmers aground the world grow crops more sustainably. 

“We are pleased to provide this planter donation to Iowa State University,” said J.D. Rossouw, North America and Latin America North Plant Breeding Lead for Monsanto. “Tools like this planter help to prepare the next generation of agricultural scientists and leaders and we are grateful to be a part of encouraging students to pursue careers in agricultural industries to help drive food security.”

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