On RFD-TV: Jennifer Clarke
A new research effort, the USDA Agricultural Genome to Phenome Project, brings together researchers from multiple institutions to better understand how a plant’s or animal’s genes affect its physical traits. Jennifer Clarke, director of the Quantitative Life Sciences Initiative talks live with RFD-TV August 3, 2021.
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[00:00:00.300]Well, efforts are underway to better understand how the
[00:00:02.760]genes of a plant or animal affect its physical traits.
[00:00:06.150]Researchers from multiple institutions have come together to
[00:00:09.240]study how that relationship can improve crops and also
[00:00:12.570]livestock. Well, Jennifer Clarke with the University of
[00:00:15.030]Nebraska-Lincoln joins us now with the latest on that
[00:00:18.690]research. And Jennifer, thanks for your time this morning.
[00:00:21.300]If you would give us a little background on this project, of
[00:00:23.550]course the the goals of the program?
[00:00:26.620]Sure, so the agricultural genome to phenome project is
[00:00:31.060]supported by the US Department of Agriculture, it aims to
[00:00:34.450]better understand the relationship between genes and
[00:00:38.440]physical traits. In other words, the link between genome and
[00:00:42.430]phenome, so we're hoping that a better understanding of
[00:00:46.150]those relationships can provide researchers with a type of
[00:00:49.630]roadmap as they work to develop disease, weather and pest
[00:00:55.060]resistant crops and livestock. The project is led by Iowa
[00:01:00.100]State University in partnership with the University of
[00:01:03.640]Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Arizona, and the
[00:01:07.090]University of Idaho. We know the project is too big for any
[00:01:12.130]small group of institutions. So we're using our support to
[00:01:16.390]distribute as seed grants across the nation for supporting
[00:01:20.200]projects that are relevant to understanding this area.
[00:01:23.790]And do you have an example of the type of projects that
[00:01:26.550]these researchers are exactly working on?
[00:01:29.800]Sure. So we're really supporting projects that cover both
[00:01:34.930]crops and livestock. So one area is educational resources.
[00:01:39.670]What does the link between genome and phenome really mean?
[00:01:43.000]And what kind of impact does it have for producers, growers
[00:01:46.750]and consumers? Another area is needs in data science, we
[00:01:50.980]know that data can tell us a lot about these links, and
[00:01:54.370]where are the gaps that we need to fill in the data space.
[00:01:58.090]Another area is looking at how to optimize in 3D the canopy
[00:02:03.640]architecture to lead to better crops. And another thing is,
[00:02:09.040]we're looking at the ethics of doing genome editing. What
[00:02:13.600]does that mean? What are the implications. Also, increasing
[00:02:17.560]our diversity and inclusivity across the area of genome to
[00:02:22.620]Jennifer, how could this project ultimately affect our
[00:02:25.680]farmers and ranchers?
[00:02:28.530]So we're hoping that a better understanding of the
[00:02:31.740]relationship between genes and physical traits would lead to
[00:02:36.360]the development of disease, weather and pest resistant crops
[00:02:41.070]and livestock. What does that mean? More resilient crops and
[00:02:44.610]livestock that's going to benefit consumers because it leads
[00:02:48.390]to a more secure food system and more food security for
[00:02:52.260]consumers. We also have the potential to lead to more
[00:02:57.030]worldwide food security, not just in the US. And we're
[00:03:00.780]hoping that what will happen is a better understanding of
[00:03:04.290]how the environment and management choices impact crops and
[00:03:08.310]livestock so we can give information back to producers and
[00:03:12.030]consumers and growers on how best to lead to worldwide food
[00:03:17.790]All right, well, Jennifer, thanks for your insight this
[00:03:20.858]morning. Director of the Quantitative Life Sciences
[00:03:23.707]initiative at UNL Jennifer Clarke connecting with us here
[00:03:26.884]today. You can go online to ag to ag2pi.org for additional information
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