Posts Tagged: Jorge Dubcovsky
Dubcovsky commented in The Scientist article about his work in using biotechnology to instill resistance to a devastating plant disease, stripe rust, in wheat.
“Wheat is a very important cereal,” says Ravi Singh of Irrigated Bread Wheat Improvement and Rust Research in Mexico. “Twenty percent of [humans'] calories and about the same [percent of] protein are coming from wheat.”
Genetic engineering is a way to breed long-lasting stem rust–resistant wheat varieties and boost wheat yields around the world. But genetically modified foods are being kept off the market by public opposition and regulatory expenses.
The Scientist article, written by Kerry Grens, said a few groups are forging ahead, including Dubcovsky and other researchers who are cloning stripe rust-resistance genes from wheat and other taxa and identify their functions. For more on Dubcovsky's work, see UC researchers improve wheat nutrition and yield.
Roger Beachy, the director of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, was at UC Davis yesterday to announce grants for agricultural research amounting to $40 million, calling them "significant investments," said a UC Davis news release.
Together with UC Davis officials, Beachy announced that:
- Wheat geneticist Jorge Dubcovsky will receive $25 million to develop new varieties of wheat and barley. Dubcovsky and his 55 university and USDA colleagues will focus on biological and environmental stresses to wheat that are caused, at least in part, by global climate change.
- Forest geneticist David Neale will receive $14.6 million to head a team that will work to sequence the genomes of loblolly pine and two other conifers. Neale and his research colleagues plan to accelerate breeding efforts for fast-growing varieties of these trees to enhance their use as feedstocks for biofuels and biopower.
"We look forward to the practical solutions for agriculture and for the environment that will arise from these collaborative projects," UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi said at the press conference.
A story about the grants written by Rick Daysog of the Sacramento Bee said they come as UC Davis has stepped up efforts to attract research grants following Katehi's appointment as chancellor in 2009. During its fiscal year ending June 30, 2010, the university received a record $679 million in research grants.
Left to right: David Neale, Jorge Dubcovsky, Linda Katehi, Roger Beachy, Neal Van Alfen.