In an era when resequencing crop genomes has become easy, relatively cheap and commonplace, we are finally in a position to understand the function of nearly every gene in the genome and the effect each has on traits of agronomic or economic interest. A sequence indexed, searchable, saturated collection of mutants allows breeders to pursue a much more informed approach to improving important traits. In turn, that information allows us to explore and mine the natural genetic diversity for specific genes of interest in breeding programs. This huge amount of information, and the pipelines that lead to it, prove to be complex and somewhat user-unfriendly. While that presents great opportunity for the earliest movers, optimization of growth and production in food and fuel crops, in the global sense, will only come when both the information and the training in its routine application are in the hands of breeders worldwide in a useful form. Those most familiar with the natural diversity of crop species and the sometimes subtle, phenotypic differences among locally adapted breeding stock are often unable to tap into valuable and important information that can help them understand and develop their materials and promote germplasm exchange. We are trying to change that paradigm.
Moving from Functional Genomics to Functional Improvement in Sorghum
Video Nov 25, 2014
Our genetic makeup has fascinated scientists and medical researchers for decades. There have been significant advances in the field of rewriting the blueprint of life or our DNA. It's been used to treat and prevent a number of disorders and diseases. But it could also be used to create what some have called 'designer babies'. The medical world is divided over the approach. Last year, a scientist in China said he created the world's first genetically edited twins -- leading to global condemnation. Scientists have gathered in Geneva this week to try come up with some regulations. But how would officials enforce rules around our DNA? And what are the risks of advanced research into human genetics?WATCH NOW
A breakthrough called CRISPR has given us unprecedented control over the basic building blocks of life. It opens the door to curing diseases, reshaping the biosphere, and designing our own children. Human Nature is a provocative exploration of CRISPR’s far-reaching implications, through the eyes of the scientists who discovered it, the families it’s affecting, and the bioengineers who are testing its limits. How will this new power change our relationship with nature? What will it mean for human evolution? To begin to answer these questions we must look back billions of years and peer into an uncertain future.WATCH NOW