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Faculty awarded funding for grapevine improvement research

Darr School of Agriculture looking to develop new grape cultivars
Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Dr. Chin-Feng Hwang, associate professor in the William H. Darr School of Agriculture, was awarded $146,856 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the Non-Land Grant Colleges of Agriculture program (NLGCA). The project is entitled “Expanding Research and Education Capacities on Next-Generation Molecular Marker for Grape Cultivar Improvement.”

“The goal of this project is to expand our partnership with the Cornell University-based VitisGen program and to promote the usage of the existing network of grape genotyping platforms, marker-based breeding strategies and an integrated plant breeding education resource,” said Hwang.

Rapid advances in next-generation DNA sequencing have provided technology that transformed the way scientists think about plant breeding, added Hwang. The goal of this collaboration is to train more students in multiple disciplines such as plant breeding, genetics, genomics and plant pathology and to accelerate the implementation of the marker-based breeding program using Vitis aestivalis ‘Norton,’ the State grape of Missouri.

This initiative will provide a greater number of educated graduates to address the shortage of skilled agricultural professionals in the U.S. The funding will support the program through August 2015.

For more information on VitisGen, visit www.vitisgen.org or contact Hwang at (417) 547-7538.

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About Missouri State University
Missouri State University is a public, comprehensive metropolitan system with a statewide mission in public affairs, whose purpose is to develop educated persons. The university’s identity is distinguished by its public affairs mission, which entails a campus-wide commitment to foster expertise and responsibility in ethical leadership, cultural competence and community engagement.

About the Darr School of Agriculture
The William H. Darr School of Agriculture integrates excellence in teaching, service and research into each of the nine undergraduate and three graduate programs. Within the school, there are four units: general agriculture; agribusiness, agricultural education and communications; animal science; and environmental plant science and natural resources. Each program has unique research facilities that allow for hands-on research.

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