|DATE:||July 13, 2010|
Colorado State University student recognized for drought resistance research
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The American Seed Research Foundation awarded Anna Pranger, a master’s student at Colorado State University, with the Roger Krueger Memorial Scholarship during the American Seed Trade Association’s 127th Annual Convention.
The Roger Krueger Scholarship Endowment was established in 2008 by the American Seed Research Foundation to honor and remember Roger Krueger who devoted his professional career to seeds and advocating the role of science in feeding the world.
“Anna is very deserving of this scholarship,” said Marsha Stanton, who served on the selection committee and represents corn industry affairs for Monsanto. “Her research uses genetics to address one of the serious global issues in production agriculture, which is the lack of adequate water.”
Pranger works in the laboratory and in the field to incorporate drought-resistant genes from a wild, drought resistant cultivar in the background of an adapted Colorado cultivar using an advanced backcross breeding strategy.
She first became interested in soil and crop sciences during a semester abroad in Honduras, where she learned about their farming system.
“Honduras is a very rugged country and farmland is very marginal,” Pranger said. “Farmers there had difficulty because of the lack of water and poor land quality. They either could not afford or have access to quality seeds.”
After returning home, Pranger wanted to explore the development of drought tolerant crops that can survive water-limiting conditions. She also wanted to try breeding techniques that could increase plant productivity and provide for the needs of a growing world population.
Prior to her trip to Honduras, Pranger had never stepped foot in a field. Now she spends most of her time in the field with research trials and has learned the importance of production agriculture.
“Wheat is the third most produced crop in the world, behind rice and corn,” said Pranger, who earned her bachelor’s in biology and biochemistry from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. “It is necessary to breed for drought tolerance because wheat is so heavily depended on by those in dry regions of the world such as the Middle East, Australia, China, India and even Eastern Colorado and the Great Plains Region.”
Pranger believes drought tolerance will be an increasingly important trait to breed for in the future, especially as water supplies dwindle.
“My research is designed to aid with the discovery of genes associated with drought tolerance,” the Colorado native said. “Crops with the drought tolerance trait will increase productivity on dry and marginal lands and where soil quality is poor.”
The scholarship winner anticipates graduation in December 2011 and intends to work with a major seed company.
“My main interest is plant breeding, but I’m also interested in researching the genetics of plants,” she said. “I enjoy being outdoors and working in the field.”
The American Seed Research Foundation was established in 1959 to encourage research in plant and seed biology and to facilitate the transfer of resulting technology to benefit the seed industry, farmers and consumers on a global basis. The foundation supports public research in plant and seed biology, applied research projects with broad or crop-specific applications, public-private cooperation in seed-related research, and educational opportunities in seed-related sciences.
Writer: Julie Douglas, 703-837-8140, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded in 1883, the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA), located in Alexandria, Va., is one of the oldest trade organizations in the United States. Its membership consists of about 750 companies involved in seed production and distribution, plant breeding, and related industries in North America. As an authority on plant germplasm, ASTA advocates science and policy issues of industry importance. Its mission is to enhance the development and free movement of quality seed worldwide.