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Hemp is the same species as marijuana (Cannabis sativa), and the only difference is a legal one: Plants with less than 0.3% of the chemical that gives users a “high”— tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — are hemp, and anything over 0.3% THC is marijuana. CAES News
Hemp Genetics
When you buy something at the store, you have a pretty good idea of what you’re getting no matter where you buy it — a Coke is a Coke, Oreos are Oreos — and whether you buy them in Atlanta or Seattle doesn’t really change what you get. Farmers are in a similar position when they choose what to plant, but in the burgeoning field of industrial hemp, it turns out that things are much more complicated.
At UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, 2021 Borlaug Undergraduate Scholar Samantha Wegener discovered precision plant breeding — the combination of gene editing and engineering — which showed her a path to solving complicated issues to improve plant varieties. CAES News
2021 Borlaug Undergraduate Scholar
Samantha Wegener enrolled at the University of Georgia’s Tifton campus after earning her associate’s degree in biology from the Technical College of the Lowcountry in Beaufort, South Carolina. It was during her last semester in Beaufort that Wegener was introduced to the world of plant breeding.
Professor David Bertioli and senior research scientist Soraya Leal-Bertioli work together with peanut plants in their greenhouses at the Center for Applied Genetic Technologies. CAES News
Best of Both Worlds
The wild relatives of modern peanut plants have the ability to withstand disease in ways that modern peanut plants can’t. The genetic diversity of these wild relatives means that they can shrug off the diseases that kill farmers’ peanut crops, but they also produce tiny nuts that are difficult to harvest because they burrow deep in the soil.
CAES Dean and Director Nick Place (left) and UGA blueberry entomologist Ashfaq Sial ceremonially plant the first blueberry bush in the new research orchard at UGA's Durham Horticulture Farm in Watkinsville, Georgia. CAES News
Blueberry Research
Native to North America, blueberries are the most-recently commercially domesticated fruit in the U.S. Just a little over a century ago researchers began studying this wild berry with an intent to develop improved varieties for commercial cultivation.
Brent Marable, assistant director of the UGA Innovation Gateway office, has been elected as president of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Alumni Association Board of Directors for the 2019-2020 term. CAES News
CAES Alumni Association
Brent Marable, assistant director of the University of Georgia Innovation Gateway office, has been elected as president of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Alumni Association Board of Directors for the 2019-2020 term.
Horticulture Professor Esther van der Knapp of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences worked with a team of geneticists around the world to create a fuller inventory of the genetic diversity of the tomato. They release a pangenome for the tomato in the May edition of Nature Genetics. (photos by Merritt Melancon) CAES News
Tomato Pan-genome
 It’s summer, and Georgia gardeners are anxiously awaiting their first tomato harvest. Just in time for those first tomato sandwiches, researchers at the University of Georgia have helped unlock the mystery of what separates today’s tomatoes from their inedible ancestors.
Greenhouse and nursery growers from across the southeastern United States converged in Athens June 12-15 for the inaugural Academy of Crop Production hosted by the UGA Department of Horticulture. Part of the program included the annual Industry Open House at the Trial Gardens at UGA. CAES News
Trial Gardens Open House
Each year the Trial Gardens at the University of Georgia hosts a summer open house to show off the season’s best plants. This year they’re working to beat the heat by moving the party from July to June.
While Americans are familiar with one or two varieties of peanut, farmers in other parts of the world have been able to develop hundreds of varieties thanks to the peanut's natural ability to shuffle its two distinct subgenomes to produce new traits. These are some of the peanuts grown by the Caiabí people who live on the Ilha Grande, Mato Grosso, Brazil. The peanut crop is very important for them and they cultivate diverse types, each one with its own use, name and story. Photo by Fábio de Oliveira Freitas. CAES News
Mother of Peanut
Working to understand the genetics of peanut disease resistance and yield, researchers led by scientists at the University of Georgia have uncovered the peanut’s unlikely and complicated evolution.
Eric Danquah, a plant breeder who founded the West Africa Centre from Crop Improvement at the University of Ghana explains the center's mission at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences International Agriculture Day celebration on April 17, 2019. CAES News
International Ag Celebration
Since its inception in 2007, breeders at the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) in Ghana have produced 23 new varieties of corn, seven new varieties of peanuts, 11 new varieties of rice and seven new varieties of sweet potato.