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The NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences recognizes research by a mid-career scientist (defined as up to 20 years since completion of Ph.D.) at a U.S. institution who has made an extraordinary contribution to agriculture or to the understanding of the biology of a species fundamentally important to agriculture or food production. For the purpose of the prize, areas of science with applications to agriculture include plant and animal sciences, microbiology, nutrition and food science, soil science, entomology, veterinary medicine, and agricultural economics. The recipient will be awarded a medal and a $100,000 prize. The prize is endowed through generous gifts from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Edward S. Buckler, will receive the inaugural NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences. Buckler’s work focuses on nutrition and food security. His lab pioneered the use of genome-wide association studies in plants, providing critical insights into crop genetics, crop genomes and plant diversity. By examining the genetic causes of natural variation in different strains of maize and other plants, Buckler and his collaborators have been able to develop maize varieties with 15 times the level of vitamin A—providing a solution to a life-threatening deficiency in the developing world. He and his group have also addressed other critical agricultural issues necessary for world food security such as hybrid vigor, local adaptation, drought tolerance, and disease resistance.
Buckler’s techniques for the analysis of natural genomic diversity have become so widespread and affordable that they have been used on more than thousand different species and even affected the study of the human genome. He and his group have also developed open-source software and databases for the analysis of natural variation, which are used by thousands of research groups around the world. Read more about Buckler's work
Edward S. Buckler (2017)
For insights and discoveries that changed our understanding of quantitative genetics, for facilitating genetic characterization of genes underlying critical traits and their deployment for breeding programs in a myriad of species, and for exemplary collegiality in sharing resources for the betterment of crops and the human condition.
Read more about Buckler's work