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From Functional Genomics of Model Organisms to Crop Plants for Global Health

Organized by Diter von Wettstein, Roger Beachy and Robert Goldberg

April 3-5, 2006
Washington, DC

Meeting Overview:
The sequencing of the Arabidopsis and rice genomes provided unlimited possibilities to determine the function of genes, and information from these plants enhances the quality of information about crop plants. Functional analyses precede with ever more sophisticated tools enabled by modern biochemistry, cell biology, and physiology. Introduction of genes to silence or express single or multiple genes is routine for all major crop plants, and has exposed the potentials for plant breeding not previously available. Hundreds of millions of US citizens enjoy daily diets that contain products of genetically modified corn made resistant to the European corn borer. Herbicide tolerant and insect resistant soybean, canola and cotton provide increased incomes to farmers.

Recent advances in research make it clear that the potential for other advances in food and nutrition and sustainable agriculture is enormous. The purpose of the colloquium was to present the fundamental breakthroughs that will impact the future of food and agriculture, and the technical and non-technical challenges of bringing discoveries to the consumer. Lecturers included insights to potential consumer responses to the biotechnology in which they participate. The colloquium was structured to address graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, directors of public granting agencies, and policy makers.

Video Available


 Diter von Wettstein, Washington State University
Opening Remarks

Session I: Defending Against Diseases and Pests

Controlling Viral Diseases
Roger Beachy, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Chair

Expanding the Role of R-Genes for Resistance to Potato Virus X
David Baulcombe, The Sainsbury Laboratory, United Kingdom

 Controlling Geminiviruses by Multiple Strategies
Claude Fauquet, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

 Signaling in the Rice Xa21 Mediated Resistance Response
Pamela Ronald, University of California, Davis

 Molecular Breeding for Plant Disease Resistance
Brian Staskawicz, University of California, Berkeley

 The Plant Cell Wall: The First Line of Defense
Shauna Somerville, Stanford University

The Molecular Logic of the Plane Immune System: From Model Plants to Crop Application
Jeff Dangl, University of North Carolina

The Role of Transgenic Plants in Controlling Insect Pests in the Field
Fred Perlak, Monsanto Company

Session II: Developing Stress Tolerance

Tolerance to Temperature Changes
Elizabeth Vierling, University of Arizona, Chair

The Complexity of Plant Responses to High Temperature
Elizabeth Vierling, University of Arizona

 Understanding and Improving Salt and Drought Tolerance: The Role of Protein-Coding Genes and Non-Coding Genes
Jian-Kang Zhu, University of California, Riverside

 CBF/DREB 1 Gene and Applications for Drought Tolerance in Plants
Kazuko Yamaguchi-Shinozaki, University of Tokyo, Japan

 Crop Drought Tolerance and Yield Protection by Genetic manipulation of Farnesylation
Yafan Huang, Performance Plants, Inc., Canada

Keynote Lecture
 Challenges for Applications of Transgenic Plants From the Perspective of Population Biology and Environmental Issues
Barbara Schaal, Washington University in St. Louis

Session III: Improving Nutritional Composition

Enhancing Vitamin Composition
Robert Goldberg, University of California, Los Angeles, Chair

 Strategies to Enhance Micronutrients in Food
Dean DellaPenna, Michigan State University

 Altering Soybean to Mitigate Food and Feed Intolerance
Elliot Herman, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

 Molecular Genetic Approaches to Developing Quality Protein Maize
Brian Larkins, University of Arizona

Session IV: Seeds of Tomorrow

Genes that Control Regulatory Functions
Robert Goldberg, University of California, Los Angeles, Chair

 Regulatory Genes that Control Embryo and Seed Formation
John Harada, University of California, Davis

 The Role of Genetic Imprinting in Seed Development
Robert Fischer, University of California, Berkeley

 The Potential Value of Apomixis in Agriculture. Research Progress and Remaining Challenges
Ross Bicknell, New Zealand Institute for Crop & Food Research Limited

Keynote Speaker
 Genomics and Biomass Energy Crop Improvement
Richard Flavell, Ceres, Inc

Session V: Engineering Crops for the Future
Plant-based Vaccines
Diter von Wettstein, Washington State University, Chair

 Plant-Derived Protein Pharmaecuticals: From Vaccines to Therapeutics
Charles Arntzen, Arizona State University

 Genes, Crops, Food, Health - A Smooth Path?
Jim Peacock, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization

Functional Genomics of Forest Trees
Ronald Sederoff, North Carolina State University

Strategies To Remove Cyanogenic Glucosides From Cassava Roots and to Exploit Them in Plant Defense Against Herbivored and Insects
Birger Lindberg Møller, Royal Veterinary & Agricultural University, Denmark

 Novel Cropping Systems to Conserve Water, Fertilizer and Prevent Soil Erosion
James Cook, Washington State University

Keynote Speaker
 Genomics, Innovation and Human Welfare: Policy and Institutional Dimensions
Calestous Juma, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

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