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Plant Breeding, Genetics, & Genomics

NIFA-funded Researcher Co-Authors Book on Organic Farming

Dr. Pam Ronald, professor of genetics at the University of California–Davis and NIFA National Research Initiative-funded plant genome project director, has co-authored a book entitled, Organic Farming, Genetics and The Future of Food,” with organic producer Raoul Adamchak.  Ronald describes the tools and processes of genetic engineering (GE), as well as the potential ecological benefits and risks of using GE technology, to generate new crop varieties. Adamchak manages a 5-acre certified organic farm and provides a farmer’s view of how the philosophy and practice of organic farming differs from conventional agriculture.  

Of particular interest is Ronald’s description of a 10-year USDA-funded project that led to the cloning of a submergence tolerance gene from rice. An outcome of her research on submergence tolerance is the development of a new rice variety that is now producing dramatic yields in Bangladesh, an area of the world where families live on less than $1 a day and suffer from frequent flooding. Cultivation of submergence-tolerant rice in Asia may provide crop protection against damaging floods and increase world food security for resource-limited farmers.


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