USDA Statement on Plant Breeding Innovation

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued a statement (March 28, 2018) providing clarification on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) oversight of plants produced through innovative new breeding techniques which include techniques called genome editing. Under its biotechnology regulations, USDA does not regulate or have any plans to regulate plants that could otherwise have…

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Decoding the Redwoods: As Threats to California’s Giant Redwoods Grow, Their Salvation Might Be in Their Complex Genetic Code

[Summary from the Washington Post]: As California’s climate changes to one of extremes, the only coast redwoods on the planet are in peril. Just 5 percent of the redwoods that stood before 1849 are still alive. Scientists are mapping the coast redwood’s genome, a genetic code 12 times larger than that of a human being….

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Gene Discovery May Halt Worldwide Wheat Epidemic: Gene Can Help Fend off Devastating Strain of Stem Rust

Summary Stem rust can destroy large percentage of world’s second most important grain New stem rust strain is spreading throughout Africa and threatens Asia’s bread basket Identification of effective resistance genes are critical to mitigate stem-rust threat University of California, Davis, researchers have identified a gene that enables resistance to a new devastating strain of…

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Paul Gepts: International Scientific Prize for Agriculture and Food

Plant sciences professor Paul Gepts, who leads the UC Davis bean breeding program, has been selected as “distinguished scientist” for the 2017 Agropolis Louis Malassis International Scientific Prize for Agriculture and Food. The prize is given once every two years to recognize individuals for exemplary and promising contributions promoting innovative research, development and/or capacity building…

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Genome Project Will Restore Health of Coast Redwood and Giant Sequoia Forests

Some trees are better at surviving drought, fire, pests, and diseases than other trees. By identifying the genes responsible for these adaptations, scientists can compile a scalable database that will aid resource managers as they plan long-term conservation strategies, particularly as the climate changes. Professor David Neale, UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, showed in…

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Tracking Down Transposable Elements in Maize: New Map Will Aid Research and Breeding Efforts

Overview: A new map of transposons in maize will help identify the role of transposable elements, and help with the breeding of maize, a major global crop. Transposable elements (also called transposons or “jumping genes”) have been an elusive DNA component for decades, primarily because they’ve been so difficult to sequence and assemble, until now….

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Gene Salad: Lettuce Genome Assembly Published

Represents most successful group of flowering plants  On April 12, 2017, UC Davis researchers announced in Nature Communications that they have unlocked a treasure-trove of genetic information about lettuce and related plants, releasing the first comprehensive genome assembly for lettuce and the huge Compositae plant family. Garden lettuce, or Lactuca sativa, is the plant species that includes a salad bar’s…

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