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Edward S. Buckler, Research Geneticist, USDA-ARS and Adjunct Professor, Plant Breeding and Genetics at the Institute for Genomic Diversity, Cornell University, received the 2017 NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences, the first time this prize was awarded.

Buckler’s work focuses on the vital issues of 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 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.

The NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences recognizes research by a mid-career scientist 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.The prize is endowed through generous gifts from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


Watch Buckler's Acceptance Speech »

2017 Biological, Medical, and Agricultural Sciences Press Release »

NAS Prize in Food and Agricultural Sciences »

2017 NAS Award Recipients »

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