4:30PM-5PM ISE Lab 315
Randall Wisser, Associate Professor of Plant and Soil Science
“Evolving evolution: how have genomes, climates and man formed our food?”
Abstract: Humans have radically transformed plants from species
fit for survival in the wild into formula one crops fit to maximize the
allocation of energy for mass production in managed environments. How
did this happen? Studies on domestication, adaptation and population
improvement reveal key insights into the evolution of crop species.
These insights along with transformative technologies of genome science
are enabling the prediction of unobserved phenotypes. Still, there is
much that remains to be understood, and current trends in plant science
are bringing the role of the environment into focus.
Through a Dr. Wisser five-year grant from USDA’s Agriculture and Food
Research Initiative (AFRI), Dr. Wisser teamed up with researchers from
universities in Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, North Carolina, and Texas.
Together, they are combining genome science with field studies of
tropical corn varieties and breaking new ground on the genetic barriers
that hinder crop adaptation in the United States.
Bio: Dr. Randy J. Wisser received his B.S. in Biological
Sciences while studying fungal biology at Florida International
University, Miami; this was followed by a stint as a USDA-ARS research
technician in Miami, FL where he characterized molecular genetic
diversity of sub/tropical crop species, including chocolate! He then
earned his Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Genetics at Cornell University
followed by a postdoctoral position in quantitative plant genetics and
pathology at North Carolina State University. He is currently an
Associate Professor in Plant and Soil Sciences at UD. His work is
centered on understanding the genetics of naturally-occurring variation
in environmental adaptation and host resistance.