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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Blechl, Ann
Research Leader
Albany CA 94710

The mission of the Crop Improvement and Genetics Research Unit is to apply genetics, genomics, molecular biology, bioinformatics, proteomics, and biotechnology to the improvement of agriculturally and economically important plants. The Unit relates new knowledge from these approaches to the biochemistry, development, physiology, field behavior and commercial utilization of crop plants, including cereals (wheat, rice, barley), fruits and vegetables (citrus, potato) and switchgrass. This research seeks to enhance the value, quality, and performance of plants producing foods, feeds, and biofuels. Specific goals include understanding global patterns of gene expression in the Triticeae crops (wheat, barley, and rye); identification of genes conferring favorable quality and agronomic traits; study of the mode of action of those genes; understanding the structures of crop genomes; maintenance and development of publicly available computer databases and Internet resources; development of genetic markers for plant breeding and research; molecular analyses of effects of environment on wheat flour quality and allergenic potential; production of wheat germplasm with enhanced baking quality; and development of molecular tools to minimize risk in genetically engineered crops. Interaction with the broader scientific community through activities such as bioinformatics resources is integral to the Unit's objectives. The Unit also interacts with other Federal agencies, universities, and private industry for technology transfer and positive synergisms.

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