June 28, 2017

2015 University of Minnesota Plant Breeding Symposium

2015 University of Minnesota Plant Breeding Symposium
Friday, March 27, 2015
North Star Ballroom-St. Paul Student Center

2015 Symposium Program

The vision behind this year’s Plant Breeding Symposium is to initiate a conversation on a topic that we, the planning committee, feel has been seldom discussed by the plant breeding community, namely alternative crops and environments. We believe that the definition of the word “alternative” has been narrowed to be nearly synonymous with topics such as organic, local, sustainable, etc. That is not to say that these ideas are not well-represented by the term “alternative,” but in truth “alternative” encompasses ideas across the spectrum of crops and agricultural practices, and the purpose of this year’s symposium is to reclaim and expand the definition of the word “alternative.”

“Breeding Crops for Alternative Systems and Environments” is the eighth annual University of Minnesota Plant Breeding Symposium. This year’s symposium theme explores a broader definition of “alternative”. For the sake of clarity examples are included with each aspect of our definition; “alternative” can refer to crops themselves (e.g. amaranth, pennycress, millet), a cropping system (e.g. perennial, low-input) or environment (e.g. high-altitude, high-saline), or an end-use market (e.g. direct-to-restaurant, fulfilling a new food/feed/fiber/fuel niche) that is either atypical or uncommon in current American agriculture. In essence, the goal is to highlight breeding efforts and strategies that focus on breeding, actually changing the genetic composition of a plant population, to be more productive in its new “alternative” role.


Keynote Speaker:

 orf Jim Orf
Professor, Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics
University of MinnesotaTitle: “Breeding Soybeans for Changing Environments: A 34 year Perspective”Dr. Jim Orf is a professor at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics.  Dr. Orf earned his B.S. in Agronomy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and both his Master’s and Ph.D from the University of Illinois in Plant Breeding and Genetics.  He served as an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky before joining the University of Minnesota faculty in 1981.  While at the U of M, the objectives of his research have been to 1) develop new high yielding, hazard tolerant, high quality soybean varieties adapted to Minnesota, 2) evaluate general purpose, special purpose varieties, and exotic germplasm, 3) generate new information on soybean breeding and methodology, and 4) contribute to the training of graduate students.  Dr. Orf has developed and released over 80 general purpose and special purpose soybean varieties.  Current research areas include: drought tolerance; soybean seed composition; genetic diversity; soybean cyst nematode resistance; soybean aphid resistance; adaptation to northern latitudes; soybeans for human consumption; and iron chlorosis tolerance.

We are pleased to announce the speakers for this year’s symposium:

 Kevin Murphy Kevin Murphy
Assistant Professor, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences
Washington State University

Title: “Challenges and Opportunities of Breeding Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) in the Pacific Northwest”

I lead the barley and alternative crop breeding program at WSU. Our goal is to increase the genetic- and bio-diversity of cropping systems across Washington State through the development of new cultivars and ecologically-rooted production practices. Within barley, we continually work towards the release of climate resilient, disease resistant and high yielding feed, food and malt cultivars. Food barley development focuses on the improvement of nutritional characteristics in the emerging food barley market class, and we contribute to this exciting field of study through research on β-glucan and hulless traits, and through new projects on the genetics of tocols, phenols and mineral concentration in barley. In addition to barley breeding and genetics, our group focuses on quinoa breeding and agroecology for organic systems, buckwheat nutrition, spelt and perennial wheat breeding, amaranth genetics, and proso millet varietal selection and agronomy. General traits/systems of importance across the crops we study include nutritional value, heat tolerance, drought tolerance, resistance to rusts and mildews, intercropping, deficit irrigation, and evolutionary participatory breeding.

Dawson_original-63b01f535a549d3274f195b06d44ed74 Julie Dawson

Assistant Professor, Department of Horticulture
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Title: “Breeding for Flavor and Quality Traits in Organic Systems”

Julie Dawson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Her background is in organic plant breeding and participatory research.  Before arriving at UW Madison, she worked on wheat breeding for artisanal bread-making quality in Washington, France and New York.  In Wisconsin, she is working with other plant breeders to test varieties with organic farmers and local chefs, particularly related to flavor and quality in direct market vegetables.

 albertsen Marc Albertsen
DuPont Fellow, DuPont PioneerTitle: “Biofortification in Sorghum: A collaborative synergy of technology and biosafety in the development of biofortified sorghum for Africa”Dr. Albertsen is a DuPont Fellow and has been the leader of the Research for Enhanced Adaptation and Crop Hybridization (REACH) group at DuPont Pioneer, a research discovery group assembled to address the challenges of crop production in the next decade by working to expand the environmental adaptation of maize and to increase the reproductive productivity of crops in general. He is also the Pioneer lead for two philanthropic, multi-partner, public-private-partnerships, each with the goal of improving the lives of subsistence farmers in Africa. One of these is the Africa Biofortified Sorghum (ABS) project, which is developing nutritionally-enhanced sorghum to enhance the lives of people dependent upon sorghum for their staple diet. The other is the Improved Maize for African Soils (IMAS) project, which is improving the nitrogen use efficiency of maize for subsistence farmers through a combination of conventional, molecular, and transgenic breeding.Dr. Albertsen has over 34 years of research and leadership experience at DuPont Pioneer in reproductive biology and agronomic traits with a background that combines genetics, cytogenetics, crop breeding, cytology, molecular biology, and plant physiology. He has authored or co-authored over 25 refereed journal articles, over 60 additional professional article and abstracts, over 45 patents, and has been invited to make over 30 presentations at scientific meetings worldwide. He was elected as a Fellow of the Iowa Academy of Sciences in 1984. In 2005, he was named as a member of the Pioneer Inventor Hall of Fame, and he was recognized as the Iowa Inventor of the Year by the Iowa Intellectual Property Law Association in 2008. In 2011, he received the DuPont Lavoisier Medal for Technical Achievement, an award that honors scientists and engineers from throughout the DuPont Company for outstanding contributions during their career. He was named a Fellow of the Crop Science Society of America in 2012. His most recent recognition was being named a DuPont Fellow in 2013.
 Lee-DeHaan-150x150 Lee DeHann
The Land InstituteTitle: “Kernza: Breeding a Perennial Grain”Lee became a staff member in September 2001 after a two-year Land Institute Graduate Research Fellowship. Raised on a farm in Minnesota, he has a strong background in the everyday challenges of agriculture. His focus is development of Kernza (wheatgrass) as a perennial grain. Lee earned a B.A. in Plant Science and Biology at Dordt College, and M.S and Ph.D. degrees in Agronomy, specializing in Agro-ecology, at the University of Minnesota. He received two awards there: an outstanding graduate student award from his department and a scholarship for meritorious graduate students from Crop Science Society of America. His graduate research focused on development of new leguminous perennial crops. From 2001 to 2010 he led the perennial-wheat breeding program at The Land Institute.