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This course will discuss principles of crop breeding, Norman Borlaug’s Green Revolution of the 1960s and ‘70s, and the development of GMO crops resistant to herbicides or insects or virus diseases. We will discuss the world-wide proliferation of GMO crops, as well as their advantages and challenges. We will discuss the impact of DNA sequencing to facilitate the development of improved cultivars, and how New Breeding Technologies such as Gene Silencing and CRISPR-cas9 can substantially speed up crop improvement. As part of our last class, we will discuss controversial Gene Drives and how they could eliminate some insect species that cause crop disease epidemics, as well as control insect pathogens that cause livestock and even human diseases.
Instructor: Art Quinn
Art Quinn has a Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Genetics. He served for 30 years as Project Leader for Sugarbeet Research for Betaseed, North America’s largest sugarbeet seed company. During his career, Art and his research team developed over 200 new and improved sugarbeet cultivars. During his last 10 years, Art and his team developed Round-Up Ready GMO sugarbeet cultivars, which are now grown by over 99% of North America’s growers. Art has taught numerous OLLI classes on Plant Breeding, the Green Revolution, the world wide proliferation of GMO crops, and historical and current devastating crop diseases.
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