Salt tolerance in seashore paspalum
Soil salinity is one of the greatest threats facing agriculture world wide. We can look to plants that have already evolved salt tolerance in the wild to get clues to guide the development of more tolerant crops. Seashore paspalum, a common beach grass often used for turf on coastal golf courses, is one such model system. As an important first step I am studying the genetic and phenotypic variation found in wild populations. A collaboration with the US Golf Association and Dr. Ivan Baxter at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.
Disease resistance in rice
Rice sheath blight disease is one of the most devastating pathogens of cultivated rice worldwide. Weedy rice populations appear to be more resistant to the disease than cultivated varieties. If the genetic location of the genes responsible for this difference (QTLs) can be located the resistant alleles can be bred into crop varieties. A collaboration with Dr. Yulin Jia at the USDA-ARS Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center.