CROPS 2015: Translating genomic knowledge into plant breeding and crop improvement

Leading genomics researchers and plant breeders from around the world will convene at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Ala., May 18-21 to discuss the latest genomic technology in plant breeding and crop improvement.

Presented by HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the CROPS 2015 conference will focus on improving crop sustainability through genomics. Co-chaired by Jeremy Schmutz, HudsonAlpha faculty investigator and manager of the HudsonAlpha Genome Sequencing Center, along with Scott Jackson, director of the University of Georgia Center for Applied Genetic Technologies and Peggy Ozias-Akins, director of the UGA Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics, CROPS will bring together leading researchers applying genomic based techniques to crop improvement, plant molecular breeding experts, and traditional breeders interested in applying these techniques within their crops of interest.

“We are honored to partner with the HudsonAlpha Institute to bring the best researchers in the world working on the application of genetics and biotechnology to crop improvement to share their cutting edge research with crop scientists from around the world,” Jackson said.

Tremendous progress has been made in plant genomics in just a few short years. Plant researchers have gone from generating a single reference genome for a single plant to generating hundreds of reference plant genomes.

“Applying genomic technology in plant research is very powerful because we can actually breed plants to achieve a desired outcome,” Schmutz said. “With the advancement of genomic technology we are able to identify the target traits in a plant that may be crossed in to produce coveted characteristics.”

Despite the amount of progress, one of the most difficult problems for plant genomics still exists: integrating and translating this genomic knowledge to improve plant breeding and crop production efforts.

“We can now produce genomic information at reasonable costs, we can sample vast numbers of cultivars, so how do we go from having that base level of knowledge to being able to actually accelerate the improvement of these crop species?” Schmutz asks.

The GSC contributes an enormous amount of the genomic infrastructure for plants, but there is a huge translation gap between the genomic data and how it is integrated and applied to breeding and improvement. CROPS seeks to open the dialog between plant genomic experts, groups applying genomic tools to breeding and selection and to breeding organizations that would benefit from these tools. An important goal of CROPS is to further the discussion of applying these genomic tools to the vital area of developing world germplasm.

An excellent group of speakers have been selected from the some of the key areas in crop genomics. Make plans to join them on the campus of HudsonAlpha Institute to explore how plant genomics and breeding are joining forces to rapidly advance agriculture systems for food and biomass production.

For more information about speakers, abstracts, poster submissions and to register, visit