2007 Project Leaders
Breeding and Genetics
Dr. Paul Beuselinck -- Soybean Genetics
Research investigates the reproductive fitness of soybean lines that have been modified for improved seed quality by traditional and molecular techniques. Our experiments utilize soybean germplasms free of selection or alteration that are then compared to soybean lines modified using traditional breeding and selection, transformants generated from alien gene transfers or having modified regulation of native genes, and chemically generated mutants.
We use soybean as a genetic model system to characterize responses to stress factors that affect reproductive fitness, especially of flowers, pods, and seed. Current studies include:
- A field study of the vigor and potential yield of a soybean line producing very low levels of seed phytate to that of conventional soybean lines.
- A field study using grafted soybean plants to determine effects of soybean cyst nematode (SCN, Heterodera glycines) resistance/susceptibility (rootstocks) on expression of fatty acids in modified soybean lines (scions).
- A maternal effects study, in which large seeded and small seeded soybean lines were crossed and the progeny were grown in the field. The objective of this study is to evaluate the influence that the maternal parent has on progeny seed size, composition, and subsequent performance; viability, vigor, and germination.
Dr Kristin Bilyeu -- Soybean Molecular Biology
Today, reverse genetics is an important approach to gene discovery in context of an entire organism. The TILLING (for Targeting Local Lesions IN Genomes) approach to reverse genetics utilizes chemical or radiation mutagenesis induced point mutations that can be screened in high-throughput. TILLING has many advantages over other reverse genetic approaches including applicability to virtually any organism, its facility for high-throughput and its independence of genome size, reproductive system or generation time. Our project objective is to utilize this resource as a tool for discovery of mutations within our genes of interest and better understand their function and develop a set of markers to aid soybean breeders in selecting for a targeted trait.
Dr. Anne McKendry -- Cereal Grain Breeding
Research objectives include development of breeding methodology, improvement of wheat quality and the genetics of host plant disease resistance.
Dr. David Sleper -- North Missouri Soybean Breeding and Genetics
The objective of the North Missouri Soybean Breeding and Genetics Program is development of improved high yielding varieties in maturity groups III and IV. Emphasis is placed on developing resistance to the soybean cyst nematode and Phytophthora root rot. Resistance to various herbicides is also being incorporated into advanced selections. Emphasis is also placed upon identification of new sources of soybean cyst nematode resistance, studying inheritance of soybean cyst nematode resistance in these new sources, and development of improved breeding methodology for soybean cyst nematode resistance. Fatty acid composition of soybean seed has become a major focus, as has developing lines suitable for the natto and tofu markets. Selection for improved seed quality is also a research objective. Research in cooperation with Dr. Henry Nguyen has identified useful molecular markers associated with resistance to the soybean cyst nematode and improved oil and protein concentrations. These molecular markers will be used in marker-assisted selection (functional genomics) to develop future improved soybean germplasms and varieties.
Dr. Sherry Flint-Garcia -- Maize Quantitative Genetics and Breeding
The research project investigates several aspects of genetic diversity in maize. Artificial selection has impacted maize during its domestication from its weedy ancestor teosinte (Zea mays ssp. parviglumis) to landraces, and during modern plant breeding from landraces to inbred lines. Genes that have experienced artificial selection have greatly reduced genetic diversity in inbred lines, and therefore cannot contribute to variation for agronomically important traits. Also of significance, selected genes cannot be identified through conventional genetic analyses such as QTL analysis and association mapping.
One research approach is to identify genes that have been selected during domestication or plant breeding by DNA sequencing. In order to define their biological functions, we then reintroduce genetic variation for these genes from germplasm resources such as landraces and teosinte, and try to identify changes in phenotype. We are developing introgression populations for 11 teosinte accessions in the B73 background, resulting in libraries of small genomic fragments of teosinte for allele testing and crop improvement through conventional breeding. A specific research project using this approach is examining the impact of artificial selection on protein and amino acid composition of maize kernels. This novel approach to crop improvement will lead to a better understanding of the genetic bases of quantitative traits in maize.
Dr. Karen Cone -- Maize Molecular Genetics
This project was aimed at understanding how packaging of DNA into chromatin in the nucleus influences gene expression. As part of a collaborative NSF-funded study, we have identified over 300 genes in maize that are likely chromatin regulators. To analyze the function of these genes, we have made chromatin-gene mutants, which are crossed to a reporter line containing an anthocyanin regulatory gene that is known to be regulated at the chromatin level. Changes in expression of the reporter are evident as changes in pigment levels in leaf sheaths. To quantitate the changes in pigmentation, we harvest leaf sheaths, extract anthocyanins chemically and measure the extracts spectrophotometrically. Mutants that result in pigment levels outside the normal range identify genes that must play a role in chromatin-mediated gene expression. In a second study, we are constructing recombinant inbred lines containing the anthocyanin reporter gene and various modifiers that are suspected to be chromatin genes. Pigmentation in these lines will be analyzed over multiple seasons, in multiple locations to determine how environmental and genetic factors interact to control chromatin effects on gene expression.
Dr. Michael McMullen -- Maize Genetics
Objective - Trait Analysis in the NAM lines
We have developed a novel set of recombination inbred line populations from diverse parents to test a novel QTL analysis strategy that combines linkage and association analysis. We measured a number of morphological traits and selfed two ears/row for kernel quality traits. We abandoned 2000 of the 6000 rows due to poor germination..
Dr. Bill Wiebold -- Soybean and Corn Management
Primary research thrusts are integrated crop management, soybean production under cyst nematode infestations and residue management.
MU Variety Testing
Our research focuses on providing producers with a reliable, unbiased, and up-to-date source of information to select the best hybrid or variety of corn, soybean, wheat, and canola for planting. Columbia is just one of 27 locations in Missouri where Variety Testing experiments are conducted. See all of our results at: www.agebb.missouri.edu/cropperf/vartest
Dr. Robert McGraw -- Forage Production
Research objectives are directed at the physiology and production of forages with emphasis on birdsfoot trefoil and native legume species.
Dr. Robert Kallenbach -- Forage Production
The main thrust of my program is on winter-feeding systems for cattle. I am examining several low-cost alternatives in this area including winter annual pasture options, stockpiling tall fescue, use of novel endophyte-infected tall fescue for winter stockpiled feed, and increasing alfalfa hay production.
Dr. Peter Scharf -- Extension Soil Fertility
Research focus at BREC includes soil pH and herbicide interactions, P and K studies in wheat, and N studies in corn and wheat.
Dr. Bob Lerch -- Soil Chemistry
Conduct research to develop cropping systems and management practices for production agriculture that sustain or improve soil and water quality. An additional research goal is to study watershed characteristics that affect vulnerability to stream contamination by non-point sources.
Plant Physiology and Biochemistry
Dr. Dale Blevins -- Plant Physiology-Mineral Nutrition
The overall purpose of our projects is to improve important Missouri crops through an enhanced understanding of mineral nutrition. These research projects are not only conducted to further scientific knowledge, but also for field application. Many of the studies have their beginnings in the laboratory or greenhouse, and are then moved to the field for further testing and verification.
Dr. Dave Emerich -- Biochemist
We have been attempting to discern the energy generating pathways of soybean nodules. Our ability to obtain quantities of fresh soybean nodules has permitted us to label the carbon metabolites with 13C and follow the interconversions via NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance), Mass Spectrometry and other analytical techniques. Preliminary results suggest the present of a novel pathway of carbon metabolism referred to as the methylcitrate cycle.”
Dr. Hari Krishnan -- Plant Physiology-Biotechnology
One aspect of my research is focused on studying the effect of nitrogen fixation on soybean seed protein composition and protein quality.
Dr. Felix Fritschi -- Plant Physiologist
Dr. Lu Lu -- Biochemistry
We are developing lines of sorghum expressing altered tRNAs and also, aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases that promote lysine incorporation into proteins, so as to improve their nutritive value. Plant transformation methods are used to introduce genes-interest into sorghum. We planted a non-transformed public line P898012 at farm for high quality immature embryos as explanted material. This research has been preceded with the embryos supplied from your farm.
Dr. Laura Sweets -- Extension Plant Pathology
My research trials at Bradford include seed treatment trials on corn, soybean and wheat as well as foliar fungicide trials on soybean and wheat. These trials focus on efficacy of specific fungicides in controlling certain field crop diseases with the goal of providing information that will aid Missouri farmers in preventing or minimizing losses from field crop diseases.
Dr. Nadia E. Navarrete - Tindall -- Native Plant Ecologist
Her main goals are to evaluate and promote native plants, including native cool season grasses, to determine their forage and horticulture potential to be integrated in urban landscapes or small farms as alternative crops, for conservation, and for wildlife habitat. She is restoring upland prairie, prairie swales remnants, and marginal lands not suitable for traditional crops at BREC, to maintain vegetation corridors for wildlife between BREC and private adjacent farms. She has demonstration plots with native plants including grasses, orchids, forbs, shrubs, and trees that can be visited throughout the year. Link: http://www.psu.missouri.edu/faculty/navarrete.asp
Dr. Kevin Bradley -- Extension Weed Science
The objectives of my research projects are to evaluate new herbicides, weed management techniques, and weed management programs for use in conventional and herbicide-tolerant crop and forage systems, and to identify and characterize the interactions that occur between weeds, insects, and diseases in agronomic production systems.
Dr. Reid Smeda -- Herbicide Field Evaluations
Research objectives include the biology and management of invasive, indigenous, and herbicide-resistant weeds in agronomic, turf, and forage production systems.
Dr. Robert Kremer -- Evaluation of Soil and Crop Management Systems on Soil Quality and Weed Suppression
Overall Objective: To determine impact of organic soil management on soil quality and weed suppression.
Specific Objectives: Assess soil biological activities (bioindicators) and bacterial diversity for describing soil quality under sustainable agricultural practices Determine relationship of microbial parameters to weed suppression in various soil management practices
Dr. Bruce Hibbard -- USDA-ARS Entomologist
Breeding for Native Resistance to Corn Rootworm and Corn Rootworm Ecology/Resistance Management
Management One aspect of this research program strives for an alternative method of management (host?plant resistance) for one of the pests most targeted by insecticides - corn rootworms. Long-term goals include the identification, improvement, and release of native corn rootworm resistance sources. Mechanisms to maintain susceptibility (resistance management) to transgenic and native sources of corn rootworm resistance are investigated in conjunction with the ecology of this major pest.
Dr. Wayne Bailey -- Extension Entomologist
My research at Bradford has two major objectives:
- The wildflower study compares insect species and abundance on native wildflowers and their commercial cultivars.
- The soybean insect study compares insect species and abundance by distance from a wooded field border and in three different row spacings
Dr. Randy Miles -- Education in Soil Properties
Provide education and training in understanding soil properties that affect absorption, production, and biological systems for various land uses and management with major emphasis on crop agriculture and on-site treatment systems for sewage.
Dr. Randy Miles -- Missouri Smallflows Field Training and Education Center
Provide scale models that demonstrate the construction and operation of various types of technology used for on-site treatment of smallflows and develop training for these systems to educate contractors, sanitarians, inspectors, engineers, soil scientists, and public on their proper installation, use, and maintenance.
Dr. Bob Pierce -- Extension Wildlife
Involved in the Quail Focus team that has Research and Demonstration plots of how Agriculture and Wildlife can coexist. This includes management of warm season grass, renovation of tall fescue pastures, and quail bundle species
Bill White -- Missouri Department of Conservation
Bill is involved with many of the demos involving use of native plants for field borders, edge feathering, and quail covey headquarters. Bill also has initiated some research involving direct seeding of covey headquarters and their management.