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Agricultural Science
Gordon Research Conference

Agricultural Biotechnology: Today and Tomorrow

Dates

March 11-16, 2007

Location

Four Points Sheraton / Holiday Inn Express
Ventura, CA

Organizers

Chairs:
Wilhelm Gruissem & Ken Feldmann

Vice Chairs:
Roberto Tuberosa & Dwight Tomes

Meeting Description

Agriculture faces enormous challenges during the next decades to meet the demands of the growing human population. Farmers must produce higher yields on less land in an environmentally sustainable way by reducing input of fertilizers and pesticides. Crops must adapt to changing environments while providing good performance. Modern day staple crops are not optimized for human health needs, yet much of the human population relies on them for calories and nutrition. Agricultural sciences have made notable achievements in the past forty years, and recent biotechnology advances are reducing pesticide inputs and providing benefits to farmers. With the increasing cost of petroleum and the advances that are being made in the generation of bioethanol there will be greater pressure on farmland for the production of energy crops. The Gordon Research Conference on Agricultural Sciences brings together a panel of leading scientists to discuss current and future developments in agricultural biotechnology to meet the challenges ahead.

Contributors

Meeting Program

SUNDAY
4:00 pm - 9:00 pmArrival and Check-in
6:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 7:40 pmIntroductory Comments by GRC Site Staff
7:40 pm - 8:00 pmWelcome: Wilhelm Gruissem (ETH Zurich), Chair & Kenneth Feldmann (CERES), Co-Chair
8:00 pm - 8:15 pmGoals of Conference and Open Discussion
8:15 pm - 9:15 pmKeynote Lecture
8:15 pm - 9:00 pmMarc Van Montagu (University of Gent)
"From GM-plant-phobia to scientific agriculture: the race is on"
9:00 pm - 9:15 pmDiscussion
MONDAY
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
8:30 amGroup Photo
9:00 am - 12:30 pmHigh Impact Achievements in Agriculture
Chair: Phil Dale (John Innes Centre)
9:00 am - 9:25 am John Bennett (International Rice Research Institute)
"Manipulating checkpoints in the reproductive biology of rice: towards drought tolerance and synthetic apomixes"
9:25 am - 9:30 amDiscussion
9:30 am - 9:55 am Pamela Ronald (University of California, Davis)
"Genes mediating rice stress responses"
9:55 am - 10:00 amDiscussion
10:00 am - 11:00 am Coffee Break
11:00 am - 11:25 am Bruce Tabashnik (University of Arizona)
"Lessons from the first decade of Bt crops"
11:25 am - 11:30 amDiscussion
11:30 am - 11:55 am Stephen Padgette (Monsanto)
"New Product Strategies in Agricultural Biotechnology"
11:55 am - 12:00 pmDiscussion
12:00 pm - 12:25 pm Phil Dale (John Innes Centre)
"Reflections on Agricultural Biotechnology - today and tomorrow"
12:25 pm - 12:30 pmDiscussion
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree Time
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session
6:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmLeading Agricultural Biotechnology in China
Chair: Qifa Zhang (Huazhong Agricultural University)
7:30 pm - 7:55 pm Jiayang Li (Chinese Academy of Sciences)
"Towards molecular designing of super rice"
7:55 pm - 8:00 pmDiscussion
8:00 pm - 8:25 pm Qifa Zhang (Huazhong Agricultural University)
"Plant functional genomics research in China"
8:25 pm - 8:30 pmDiscussion
8:30 pm - 8:55 pm Jikun Huang (Chinese Academy of Sciences)
"Economic Impacts and Sustainability of Agricultural Biotechnology in China"
8:55 pm - 9:00 pmDiscussion
9:00 pm - 9:25 pm Hailong Mo (DBN Technologies)
"The role of industry in agricultural biotechnology development in China"
9:25 pm - 9:30 pmDiscussion
TUESDAY
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 am - 11:00 amLeading Agricultural Biotechnology in Europe
Chair: Ralph-Michael Schmidt (BASF)
9:00 am - 9:25 am Patrick Schweizer (Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research Gatersleben)
"Functional genomics and gene-technology for biotic-stress resistance in wheat and barley"
9:25 am - 9:30 amDiscussion
9:30 am - 9:55 am Markus Frank (BASF Plant Science)
"Genetic engineering - a key to durable fungal resistance"
9:55 am - 10:00 amDiscussion
10:00 am - 10:30 am Coffee Break
10:30 am - 10:55 am Ian Graham (University of York)
"Metabolic engineering of novel oil production in crop plants"
10:55 am - 11:00 amDiscussion
11:00 am - 12:30 pmRoundtable and Group Discussion: How is Systems Biology Impacting Agriculture?
Each panel member will present an 8 min statement to open the discussion, followed by audience comments/questions and a final round of comments from the panel members. The panel members will identify and comment briefly on what they perceive as the most important (from an application standpoint) challenge and opportunity offered by systems biology approaches to improve crop productivity and sustainability.
  1. Richard Trethewey (Metanomics) - Discussion leader
  2. Joe Ecker (Salk Institute)
  3. Karen Kindle (Monsanto)
  4. Michael Metzlaff (Bayer Cropscience)
  5. Steven Goff (Syngenta)
  6. Ralf-Michael Schmidt (BASF)
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree Time
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session
6:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmTranslational Genomics - Moving from Model Plants to Crops
Chair: Rod Wing (University of Arizona)
7:30 pm - 7:55 pm W. Richard McCombie (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory)
"New sequencing approaches for plant genomics"
7:55 pm - 8:00 pmDiscussion
8:00 pm - 8:25 pm Michael Bevan (John Innes Centre)
"Brachypodium distachyon genomics for cereal crop and biomass research"
8:25 pm - 8:30 pmDiscussion
8:30 pm - 8:55 pm Rod A. Wing (University of Arizona)
"The Oryza map alignment project: A new resource for comparative cereal comparative genome studies"
8:55 pm - 9:00 pmDiscussion
9:00 pm - 9:25 pm Lizhong Xiong (Huazhong Agricultural University)
"Discovery and characterization of novel genes for improving drought resistance of rice"
9:25 pm - 9:30 pmDiscussion
WEDNESDAY
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 am - 12:30 pmPlants and Human Health - Improving Crops for Developing Countries
Chair: Paul Anderson (Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.)
9:00 am - 9:25 am Jonathan Gressel (Weizmann Institute)
"Transgenics have more to offer the developing world than the developed"
9:25 am - 9:30 amDiscussion
9:30 am - 9:55 am Peter Beyer (University of Freiburg)
"Golden Rice: Five years on the road - five years to go?"
9:55 am - 10:00 amDiscussion
10:00 am - 10:30 am Coffee Break
10:30 am - 10:55 am Paul Anderson (Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.)
"Toward a biofortified sorghum for Africa"
10:55 am - 11:00 amDiscussion
11:00 am - 11:25 am Richard Sayre (Ohio State University)
"The Biocassava Plus program; engineering increased levels of bioavailable iron"
11:25 am - 11:30 amDiscussion
11:30 am - 11:55 am Joe Thome (CIAT, International Center for Tropical Agriculture)
11:55 am - 12:00 pmDiscussion
12:00 pm - 12:30 pm General Discussion
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree Time / Tours
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session
6:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmNovel Approaches to Biotic and Abiotic Stress in Crop Plants
Chair: Roberto Tuberosa (University of Bologna)
7:30 pm - 7:55 pm Marc Albertsen (Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.)
"Comprehensive Approaches to Developing Stress Tolerance in Crop Plants"
7:55 pm - 8:00 pmDiscussion
8:00 pm - 8:25 pm Jian-Kang Zhu (University of California, Riverside)
"Understanding and improving plant tolerance to salt and drought stress"
8:25 pm - 8:30 pmDiscussion
8:30 pm - 8:55 pm Cory Christensen (Ceres Inc.)
"Identifying transgenic intervention points for drought and cold tolerance by screening a population of overexpression lines in Arabidopsis"
8:55 pm - 9:00 pmDiscussion
9:00 pm - 9:25 pm Matt Humphry (Max-Planck-Institute, Cologne)
"Durable, broad-spectrum mlo-mediated powdery mildew resistance in crops and cereals: what can we learn from Arabidopsis?"
9:25 pm - 9:30 pmDiscussion
THURSDAY
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 am - 12:30 pmTransgenes and Epigenetics In Agriculture
Chair: Marja Timmermans (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory)
9:00 am - 9:25 am Milo Aukerman (Dupont)
"MicroRNAs and gene silencing in crop plants"
9:25 am - 9:30 amDiscussion
9:30 am - 9:55 am Steve Jacobsen (University of California, Los Angeles)
"Genetics and genomics of DNA methylation in Arabidopsis"
9:55 am - 10:00 amDiscussion
10:00 am - 10:30 am Coffee Break
10:30 am - 10:55 am Jeffrey Chen (University of Texas at Austin)
"Epigenetic regulation of gene expression in plant polyploids"
10:55 am - 11:00 amDiscussion
11:00 am - 11:25 am Mark Cigan (Pioneer Hi-Bred International)
"Transcriptional gene silencing in maize as a tool for gene discovery and product development"
11:25 am - 11:30 amDiscussion
11:30 am - 11:55 am Marja Timmermanns (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory)
"Small RNA signals in plant development"
11:55 am - 12:00 pmDiscussion
12:00 pm - 12:30 pmBusiness Meeting
(Nominations for the next Vice Chair; Fill out Conference Evaluation Forms; Discuss future Site & Scheduling preferences; Election of the next Vice Chair)
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 6:00 pmFree Time
6:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmEnergy Crops Biotechnology - Meeting the Needs of Tomorrow
Chair: Kenneth Vogel (USDA-ARS, University of Nebraska)
7:30 pm - 7:55 pm Kenneth Vogel (USDA-ARS, University of Nebraska)
"Switchgrass for bioenergy: genomics and agronomics"
7:55 pm - 8:00 pmDiscussion
8:00 pm - 8:25 pm Michael Casler (USDA - Agricultural Research Service)
"Potential for genetic modification of herbaceous plants for energy and effects on agronomic fitness"
8:25 pm - 8:30 pmDiscussion
8:30 pm - 8:55 pm Joseph Bouton (The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation)
"Molecular breeding of herbaceous bioenergy crops"
8:55 pm - 9:00 pmDiscussion
9:00 pm - 9:25 pm Gautam Sarath (USDA-ARS, University of Nebraska)
"Modification of herbaceous biomass composition to enhance ethanol yields in a biorefinery"
9:25 pm - 9:30 pmDiscussion
FRIDAY
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 amDepart
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