NCSB has strong showing at 6th Annual International Crop Science Congress.

soybean field

Columbia, MO – Scientists affiliated with the National Center for Soybean Biotechnology (NCSB) had a strong showing at the 6th International Crop Science Congress in Bento Gonçalves, Brazil. The conference took place from August 6-10, 2012, where the NCSB’s three directors along with two affiliated researchers from the University of Missouri presented on various topics related to different aspects of soybean research.

On August 6th, Dr. Jerry Nelson spoke at a workshop on training future plant scientists. Dr. Nelson is a professor emeritus at the University of Missouri who led the formation of the International Crop Science Society, then served as its first president.

Since his retirement in 2002, Dr. Nelson has focused on providing campus leadership for international programs in Asia. His presentation, “Meeting education needs in Southeast Asia and Africa,” reflected his interest in providing crop science education in the developing world.

On August 7th, Dr. J. Perry Gustafson, a former researcher with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and current professor emeritus at the University of Missouri, gave a plenary lecture on “Breeding Crops for Acid Soils.” Dr. Gustafson’s research is centered on improving cereal crops through cytogenetic, plant breeding, and molecular techniques.

Because of his international research experience, Dr. Gustafson was also delivered a presentation on “Breeding crops for boron deficiency: A case study of wheat breeding in Bangladesh” for a workshop on breeding climate-resilient crops for future food security.

Dr. Henry Nguyen, director of the NCSB, was also a part of the climate-resilience workshop. His presentation was titled “Exploiting the root system to improve crop adaptation to climate change” in the same workshop. On August 7th, Dr. Nguyen was a keynote speaker in a workshop on marker-assisted selection. His talk, “Marker-assisted selection in the era of whole-genome sequencing,” broadly outlined the techniques NCSB scientists use to develop superior soybeans.

Dr. Gary Stacey, associate NCSB director, was a keynote speaker in another workshop that day on the genomics of root development and environmental interactions. Dr. Stacey is the principal investigator in the Legume-Microbe Interactions Laboratory at the University of Missouri, making him an expert on soybean root systems. His talk was titled “Soybean Root Hair: a single cell model for plant systems biology.”

On August 9th, Dr. Nguyen chaired a workshop on breeding for abiotic stress tolerance. Another NCSB associate director, Dr. J. Grover Shannon, was a presenter in this workshop that stressed drought and flooding tolerance. Dr. Shannon’s work with soybean focuses on breeding for resistance to biotic and abiotic stress. His presentation was called “Progress in breeding for drought and flooding tolerance in soybean.”