Public Release: 

Inaugural Texas A&M Plant Breeding Symposium

On-campus and webinar attendance offered

Texas A&M AgriLife Communications

COLLEGE STATION - The theme of the inaugural Texas A&M Plant Breeding Symposium, to be held Feb. 19, is "Plant Breeding in the Modern Era."

The one-day research conference for plant breeding, genetics and related sciences will allow world-renown scientists to share their research on high-throughput phenotyping, genomic selection and breeding for host plant resistance, said Brian Pfeiffer, a Texas A&M soil and crop science graduate student and member of the organizing committee.

This symposium is organized by Texas A&M graduate students studying plant breeding or a related science, Pfeiffer said.

Texas A&M sponsors include the departments of soil and crop sciences, horticulture and biology; the University Molecular and Environmental Plant Sciences Interdisciplinary Program; the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; and the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies. Cotton Incorporated is also a sponsor.

Participants can attend the free symposium in person at the Bethancourt Grand Ballroom, Memorial Student Center, 2300 D and E on the Texas A&M University campus in College Station.

Another option is to attend the symposium via webinar. The symposium will be recorded live. Those planning to participate in the webinar should register through the main registration portal and a link will be emailed to them on Feb. 18 through GoToWebinar.

The program will begin with check-in at 8 a.m. and conclude with an evening social at 6 p.m. Registration and a detailed events schedule are available at

The Texas A&M Plant Breeding Symposium is one in a lineup of the DuPont Pioneer Network of Symposia. The objective of the series is to help build agricultural scientific literacy and promote interest in pursuing careers in plant breeding, Pfeiffer said.

"The vast scope of research being presented at the symposium is aimed at engaging students and academic and industry professionals from many plant science related disciplines," he said.

Scheduled topics and speakers will be:

  • The Integration of Nutritional Genomics and High-Throughput Phenotyping: Progress and Prospects for Climate-Resilient High Provitamin A Maize, Dr. Michael Gore, associate professor of molecular breeding and genetics for nutritional quality and international professor of plant breeding and genetics at Cornell University. Gore is also a Faculty Fellow in the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future and Cornell Institute for Food Systems.

  • Biorefining Perennial Grasses: Sustainability via Disruptive Breeding, Dr. Russell Jessup, assistant professor in the Texas A&M department of soil and crop sciences, College Station, who works with perennial grass breeding.

  • The Current State of Citrus Breeding: Impending Calamity and Genetic Improvement Options, Dr. Fred Gmitter, professor at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, who specializes in citrus breeding and genetics for variety improvement.

  • Commercial Soybean Breeding in a Changing World, Dr. Les Kuhlman, a senior research scientist with DuPont Pioneer who is responsible for product development for the Kansas and Western Missouri soybean growing regions.

  • Genomic Selection: Historical Context, Technical Details, Empirical Findings, and Perspectives, Dr. Jianming Yu, a Pioneer Distinguished Chair in Maize Breeding and associate professor at Iowa State University.

In addition to the guest speakers, Texas A&M graduate students Francisco Gomez, Yan Yang and Silvano Ocheya will give oral presentations of their latest research, and numerous graduate and undergraduate students will present research posters.


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