University of Minnesota receives major USDA grant for barley research
Contacts: Gary Muehlbauer, Agronomy and Plant Genetics, (612) 625-6228
John Byrnes, College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences Communications, (612) 625-4743, email@example.com
Jeff Falk, University News Service, 612-626-1720, firstname.lastname@example.org
MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (03/31/2006) —The University of Minnesota today received a major U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant as the lead institution in a 30 scientist consortium that will explore methods to produce higher yielding, higher quality and disease-resistant barley by relating genetic information to physical traits in existing barley breeding lines.
The university will receive just under $2 million of the total $5 million being awarded to 19 institutions by the USDA, according to an announcement by Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns.
This research will help our producers increase their competitiveness by producing high yielding, high quality barley, said Johanns. The knowledge acquired by this research will be provided to scientists, growers and industry breeders, continuing USDAs long history in promoting agriculture research.
This consortium will work together to develop a detailed genetic road map of barley to identify the genes that control yield, food and malt quality and disease resistance.
The project will implement new genomics technology, said Gary Muehlbauer, associate professor of agronomy and plant genetics at the University of Minnesota. We want to make barley breeding more efficient and effective.
This research will use marker-assisted selection technology, which allows breeders to more precisely select the best trait combinations for specific varieties. For example, a plant scientist might mark a combination of genes known to increase disease resistance. Breeders wanting the disease resistance trait use marker information to identify lines containing that specific combination of genes.
Muehlbauer points out the benefits of the barley research will extend to the general public. The research will help create an alternative and healthy source of food and energy by developing a more sustainable supply of barley.
A portion of the USDA money will help educate graduate students and postdoctoral research associates in plant breeding and genetics. Muehlbauer hopes this funding will encourage more individuals to get involved with plant breeding and genetics research.
Results of the research will be available to scientists, growers and the food industry through the projects public website www.barleycap.org.
The university has been involved in barley research for over 100 years, Muehlbauer said. Many of the barley varieties used for malting have been developed at the University of Minnesota.
USDAs Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) administered the award through the National Research Initiative (NRI). The NRI supports research, education and extension grants that address key problems of national, regional and multi-state importance in sustaining all components of agriculture.
CSREES advances knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and communities by supporting research, education, and extension programs in the Land-Grant University System and other partner organizations. For more information, visit http://www.csrees.usda.gov.