‘Plants of tomorrow’ will come from here

28-07-2022    16:11   |    Msn News

US, Alabama- Gov. Kay Ivey toured a new state-funded research greenhouse in Huntsville today built to develop “plants of tomorrow” for a changing climate.

Ivey had earlier awarded the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology $15 million through the state’s Public School and College Authority for expansion on the research center campus including the greenhouse. HudsonAlpha scientists study food sources like peanuts, beans and barley, potential biofuels and rare plants that preserve Alabama’s biodiversity.

“Plants are hard,” HudsonAlpha co-founder Jim Hudson told the opening day audience. “It’s really hard to do plant genomics. It took four years to (map the genes of cotton) and an equal amount of time for the common bean.”

Today, Hudson said that genetic mapping takes a couple of weeks thanks in part to research at HudsonAlpha.

Plant researchers Jeremy Schmutz and Dr. Jane Grimwood were early HudsonAlpha leaders in sequencing plant genes, and HudsonAlpha recruited genetic researcher Dr. Kankshita Swaminathan in 2016 to research gene adaptations favoring more sustainable crops for the modern environment.

“The greenhouse will allow (her) and plant geneticists Josh Clevenger and Alex Harkness to do many things all to advance plant biology and improve agriculture in Alabama and southern states,” Swaminathan said. “An additional factor for me (to come to Alabama) was the environment that defines HudsonAlpha that will help move what we learn through our research into real world applications.”

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Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

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