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“Millions of hungry, poor people don’t have the hundred years it would take to repeat what conventional breeding did before,” says geneticist Edward Buckler. Buckler is the bold leader of a team of USDA Agriculture Research Service (ARS) geneticists working to address critical agricultural issues necessary for world food security, such as hybrid vigor, local adaptation, drought tolerance and disease resistance.

Buckler is the first recipient of the National Academy of Science’s Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences.  This scientist has turned his bold ideas into life-saving action to feed a hungry world. Through his pioneering work—using large-scale genomic approaches to associate genes with crop traits—plant breeders’ more quickly know which genes to manipulate to improve critical attributes.

Maize varieties adapted by geneticist Edward Buckler and his team, have 15 times the level of vitamin A of common varieties

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, expediting variety development is vital to the US and global food security. For example, the maize varieties adapted by Buckler and his team have 15 times the level of vitamin A of common varieties. The additional vitamin A resolves a life-threatening deficiency for people in the developing world.

Buckler’s genetic analysis techniques have proven to be so affordable and adaptable, they have provided benefits far beyond the ARS lab. The methods have been used to improve the performance of more than 1,000 different species. Additionally, thousands of research groups around the world use the open-source software and databases developed by Buckler and his team.

The $100,000 National Academy of Science Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences recognizes research by a mid-career scientist at a US institution who has made a significant contribution to agriculture or food production.

For his bold impact improving nutrition and food security, Edward Buckler wins inaugural NAS prize in food, ag sciences.

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