Field crops

Dubcovsky recognized with Meyer medal for advancing wheat breeding

Jorge Dubcovsky and researchers in his lab have been recognized for providing basic genetic information about wheat and improved germplasm that is being used by scientists around the world to improve “the staff of life.” Those efforts are bringing new varieties of wheat to farmers adapting to new conditions. For his leadership in those efforts, Dubcovsky was awarded the Frank N. Meyer Medal for Plant Genetic Resources, and a $2,000 prize, at the recent annual meeting of the Crop Science Society of America.

Melotto Lab seeks mighty lettuce

Maeli Melotto and her team at the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences are looking for strains of lettuce that are genetically stronger at resisting bacteria that can make people sick. Their work has led to the identification of a gene that could play a role in the plant’s susceptibility to E. coli, a bacterium that causes potentially lethal intestinal illness.

Fischer remembered for rice research

Albert Fischer, a professor emeritus of weed ecophysiology in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, was recently named recipient of the Outstanding International Achievement Award by the International Weed Science Society.

Shortly after the award was announced, Fischer passed away on Nov. 22 in Davis, Calif. He was 72. Former student Whitney Brim-DeForest accepted the award on Fischer’s behalf at the society’s quadrennial meeting Dec. 8 in Bangkok.

Lettuce: Michelmore Lab seeks genetic resistance to fungus, bacteria

As common crop diseases such as downy mildew, Fusarium and corky root evolve, Richard Michelmore and members of his lab look for the genetic basis of new variations and for genes in lettuce that can resist them. They hope to breed those qualities into existing cultivars that already stand up to multiple diseases.

Postdoctoral researcher Josh Hegarty leads NIFA-funded project to breed triticale cultivars for forage

Josh Hegarty, a postdoctoral researcher in the Dubcovsky Lab in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of California, Davis, is leading a project to develop commercial varieties of triticale to be grown for forage and feed. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture, or NIFA, is granting a $300,000 investment as part of their Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.

Dan Putnam receives the James H. Meyer Distinguished Service Award

“Ice cream in the making” – this is the unusual designation given to alfalfa by Dan Putnam, a Cooperative Extension Specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of California, Davis.

Alfalfa is often overshadowed by California’s more famous vegetable and fruit crops, like nuts and wine, despite the key roles it plays for our food systems. It’s a highly productive crop that serves as the basis for milk, cheese, leather, honey and wool production. In other words, what lies behind the carton of ice cream on the refrigerator shelf is a field of alfalfa.