Latest News

Horticulture Innovation Lab Students Take Top Honors in 'Agrilinks Young Scholar Blog Contest'

December 10, 2018

This fall the Agrilinks website held a young scholar blog contest to draw attention to the digital, first-hand stories of the next generation of global food security researchers. Plucked out of a sea of provoking narratives, blog posts penned by three students from the Horticulture Innovation Lab’s network were honored in the competition:

How Plant Cells Build Walls

December 04, 2018

Cell division is a fundamental aspect of life. Without cell division, living organisms do not grow. The last step of cell division, also called cytokinesis, is uniquely different in plants from that in animals and fungi due to the presence of cell walls in plants.

Eduardo Blumwald and Jorge Dubcovsky among 19 from UC Davis in the Global List of Most-Cited Researchers

December 03, 2018

Nineteen researchers from the University of California, Davis, have been named in the annual Highly Cited Researchers 2018 list released by Clarivate Analytics. The list identifies exceptional scientists and social scientists who have demonstrated significant influence by publishing multiple papers that rank in the top 1 percent by citations in a particular field and year, over a 10-year period.

Among the list are two professors in the Department of Plant Sciences:

Leafy Greens from a Sweet Potato Plant

November 20, 2018

Did you know that the leaves of the sweet potato plant can be eaten as a leafy green vegetable? Lauren Howe, a graduate student in Plant Sciences at UC Davis, worked on a project with farmers in Ethiopia this summer, in conjunction with the Horticulture Innovation Lab at UC Davis.

Watch the Horticulture Innovation Lab’s video on harvesting sweet potato leaves, then cooking them as a leafy green vegetable:


A Little Water Stress Could be Good for Walnut Production

October 29, 2018

When it comes to watering walnuts, most California growers believe you need to start early to keep trees healthy and productive throughout the long, hot summer. But according to striking results from a long-term experiment in a walnut orchard in Red Bluff, California, growers can improve crop production if they hold off irrigation until later in the season and directly measure their trees’ water needs.

The findings from researchers at the University of California, Davis, may help farmers optimize water use.

Seeing Plants in Three Dimensions

October 18, 2018

Scientists are taking a new look at the inner workings of plants by imaging and modeling them in three dimensions.

“We’ve realized tremendous advances in technology for 3-D imaging of leaves,” said Tom Buckley, assistant professor in Plant Sciences at UC Davis.

Change on the Range: Is a New Generation of Young, Female Ranchers Ready to Adapt to Climate Change?

October 16, 2018

A new breed of ranchers is bringing diverse demographics and unique needs to rangeland management in California. These first-generation ranchers are often young, female and less likely to, in fact, own a ranch. But like more traditional rangeland managers, this new generation holds a deep love for the lifestyle and landscapes that provide a wealth of public benefit to California and the world.

Ariel Greenwood and Erin Kiley, first-generation graziers in the Bay Area, California. (photo Elaine Patarini)

Downy Mildew Research to Benefit Lettuce Growers and Consumers: Funds Will Support Genomics Research for $3 Billion Crop

October 15, 2018

Quick Summary

  • Downy mildew is the most economically important pathogen infecting lettuce
  • Research to benefit conventional and organic farmers and reduce crop loss
  • Research will provide consumers food grown using fewer chemicals

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, will use the genomics of lettuce to combat a pathogen that causes losses in the $3 billion industry each year.

The pitfalls of FDA’s GMO food labeling

September 27, 2018

[This op-ed, by Professor Kent Bradford, Director of the Seed Biotechnology Center at UC Davis, is reprinted from The Hill, September 24, 2018]

Some companies in California were surprised recently when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates food labeling, announced that it was considering no longer allowing food products to be labeled as “milk” unless they came from lactating animals. 

Every Plant Has a Story: Ellen Dean and the Center for Plant Diversity

September 20, 2018

Inside the Sciences Lab Building, tucked next to the Biological Academic Success Center, is a door with a placard reading, “UC Davis Center for Plant Diversity” (aka Herbarium). Step inside and you’ll find undergraduates working at tables, curating and prepping dried plants for display and storage. Around 350,000 dried specimens are stored in the center, organized in phylogenetic order. There are algae, lichens, ferns, angiosperms and much more.

And overseeing this massive resource is curator Ellen Dean.

Cannabis sativa: The Plant and its Impact on People – New Graduate Course at UC Davis

September 17, 2018

A new graduate course – Cannabis sativa: The Plant and its Impact on People – will be offered in Plant Sciences at UC Davis, starting fall quarter 2018.

This seminar style course will provide a scientific overview of the biology, genetics, biochemistry and pharmacological potential of Cannabis sativa. Cannabis is among the world’s earliest domesticated plant species and this class will explore its origin, evolution and ethnobiology.

UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy Starts the Seventh Class

September 14, 2018

Contributing to fill a critical need for trained plant breeders, the University of California, Davis, Plant Breeding AcademySM (PBA) started its seventh class of students this week with a session in Davis, California. Over the next two years this class will spend more than 300 hours in classes, workshops and the field, training to complete this premium professional certification program.