Browse Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics Stories

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2024 EBroadusBrowne ResearchAwards CAES News
Research Awards
Two doctoral students and two master’s students in the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences were honored with awards for outstanding research after placing in the 2024 E. Broadus Browne Research Competition. In recognition of former Georgia Agricultural Experiment Station Director Edmund Broadus Browne, the annual competition highlights some of the best graduate research from departments within the college and challenges contestants with an oral presentation.  
Peach growers are looking forward to a fruitful season as the weather this winter and spring have been near-perfect for the sensitive crop. This year is projected to be a much-needed comeback from the disastrous season they experienced after a late freeze in March 2023 took out more than 90% of the state's crop. (Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski/UGA) CAES News
2024 Peach Season
Last year, the peach industry lost $60 million due to the late freeze that hit much of the Southeast in mid-March 2023, said Jeff Cook, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agent for Peach and Taylor counties. With no freezing temperatures in the forecast and hope for strong pricing during the upcoming season, peach growers are looking forward to a much-needed rebound year.
UGA wheat breeder and geneticist Mohamed Mergoum smells one of several test brews created by Creature Comforts on its annual Get Comfortable collaboration using a variety of wheat Mergoum developed at CAES. CAES News
Blending science and philanthropy
Wheat breeders spend years meticulously crossing varieties to coax the best traits out of each species, carefully propagating plant varieties that are healthier, heartier and better suited for the environments where they are grown. Brewmasters are equally painstaking when choosing the components that will give their beers a specific flavor profile. These two exacting professions came together this spring when Athens-based Creature Comforts Brewing Co. reached out to the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences to find a sustainable wheat variety they could use to make a good beer for a great cause.
GRA Eminent Scholar Chair in Crop Genomics Robin Buell working with plant specimens in her Center for Applied Genetic Technologies laboratory. CAES News
Bread Wheat Genomics
University of Georgia plant genomics expert Robin Buell is part of an international team seeking to mine an untapped genetic resource for wheat improvement by sequencing the genomes of ancient varieties representing the worldwide diversity of bread wheat. The two-year project— called the Wheat Diversity Project — is funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation and will bring Buell together with researchers from the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) and collaborators in France to sequence 12 landrace genomes.
Young Scholar Keela Boyce evaluates cytokine mRNA in the poultry disease histomoniasis. CAES News
Nurturing Talent
Early education opportunities that place students in the driver’s seat of hands-on field research can have infinite impacts, launching students on academic and career paths with immeasurable advantages. High school students interested in learning more about agricultural, food and environmental sciences are experiencing the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to grow as researchers thanks to the University of Georgia’s Young Scholars Program.
Distinguished Research Professor Katrien Devos specializes in plant genetics, studying ways to optimize species like Panicum virgatum—commonly known as switchgrass—for use as feedstocks for biofuels. She is one of many UGA researchers affiliated with the Center for Bioenergy Innovation, based on Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. (Photo by Peter Frey) CAES News
Katrien Devos
Distinguished Research Professor Katrien Devos specializes in plant genetics, studying ways to optimize species like Panicum virgatum — commonly known as switchgrass — for use as feedstocks for biofuels. She is one of many UGA researchers affiliated with the Center for Bioenergy Innovation, based on Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.
Each year, hundreds of international researchers — from master’s degree students to academic faculty — apply to come to the University of Georgia to work in a wide range of academic fields. CAES News
Research with Reach
Each year, hundreds of international researchers — from master’s degree students to academic faculty — apply to come to the University of Georgia to work in a wide range of academic fields. In the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, dozens of international research scholars work with faculty on important research that furthers the CAES mission while benefiting visiting scholars.
Mentorship and access facilitate plant breeding student’s dream to help nourish a continent. CAES News
Danielle Essandoh
At 8 years old, Danielle Essandoh unearthed a fascination with agriculture and never looked back. Her grandfather, a peanut farmer, welcomed her help around the family farm, and Essandoh embraced farm life with enthusiasm. Today, as a doctoral student in the Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics at the University of Georgia, Essandoh remains driven by her desire to help people sustain themselves.
Fiscal year 2022 saw 60 new products released based on UGA research. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith/UGA) CAES News
New Products
The University of Georgia once again ranks No. 1 among U.S. universities for number of commercial products to market based on its research, according to an annual survey conducted by AUTM. For eight straight years, UGA has placed in the top two and has never appeared out of the Top 5 in the 10 years the survey has been reported by AUTM.
Georgia is well-known as the Peach State, but since 1949 plant breeders at the University of Georgia have been on a blue streak, bringing more than 50 blueberry varieties to market. CAES News
Blueberry Breeding
Georgia has long been referred to as the Peach State, yet the fleshy fruit that adorns souvenirs and license plates isn’t counted among the state’s top 10 commodities. Blueberries join that list. University of Georgia blueberry breeder Scott NeSmith, professor emeritus in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Department of Horticulture, has released more than 40 varieties during his career at the university.