Videos spotlight university ‘pioneers’ in GMO plant research

A new oral history series on the contributions of pioneering plant genetics researchers includes online video interviews with two professors who have strong ties to Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis: Glenn Stone and Mary-Dell Chilton.

How rice twice became a crop and twice became a weed — and what it means for the future

With the help of modern genetic technology and the resources of the International Rice GeneBank, which contains more than 112,000 different types of rice, evolutionary biologist Kenneth Olsen has been able to look back in time at the double domestication of rice (in Asia and in Africa) and its double “de-domestication” to form two weedy strains. Olsen predicts the introduction of pesticide-resistant rice will drive ever faster adaptation in weedy rice.

Business school students work out plan for biofuels in undeveloped countries

Photo courtesy R. K. Henning and D1 Oils; www.jatropha.orgJatropha plantsDuring a practicum for the World Agricultural Forum, Washington University M.B.A. students realized that using ethanol as an alternative fuel in developing countries isn’t cost effective. Instead, they stumbled upon the jatropha plant, a hardy shrub with seeds that can easily produce oil to power basic generators. The students’ work demonstrated the potential for economic stability that jatropha could offer small villages. More…