WRPIS Welcomes a Visiting Scientist from Mexico
MSc. Xochilt Militza Ochoa-Espinoza is a visiting scholar at the WRPIS. Xochilt’s home institute is the National Research institute for Forestry, Agriculture and Livestock (INIFAP) of Mexico. Xochilt has been with the Norman Borlaug Experimental Station in Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, Mexico since 2007, and has worked on the management and evaluation of different crops such as soybean, peanut, sesame, lentil, linseed and sunflower. She has also conducted biofuel research using sugar beet, sweet sorghum, castor bean and jatropha nut.
The majority of Xochilt’s time has been spent on breeding safflower. Approximately 300 accessions of safflower have been crossed in various combinations to produce safflower varieties resistant to diseases and with very high yield and oil quantity. Xochilt’s focus at the WRPIS is on analyzing carbohydrates in safflower as they relate to cold tolerance.
Xochilt’s latest publications are:
Xochitl Militza Ochoa-Espinoza. 2012. Evaluation of Elite Lines of Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) Oleic Tolerant to Ramularia Carthami in the Northwest of México. Proc. 8TH International Safflower Conference. Hyderabad, India.
Alberto Borbón-Gracia, Xochitl Militza Ochoa-Espinoza, Lope Montoya-Coronado, Jesús Pérez Márquez y María Guadalupe García Camarena. 2011. CIANO-LIN: a new cultivar of linoleic safflower. Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Agrícolas 2(5):791-794.
First complete genome from WRPIS sequenced and published
Brachypodium distachyon, a small cool season grass with little economic value, was proposed as a model plant for studying grass functional genomics in 2001 due to its small stature, rapid life cycle, and most importantly, a small genome.
In February 2010, the International Brachypodium Initiative headed by USDA scientists and their colleagues at Oregon State University, the Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute and the John Innes Centre published the complete sequence of this grass in the journal of Nature. The research results will have immediate applications to improve varieties of food (wheat and barley) and energy feed (switchgrass) crops.
The sequenced diploid inbred line Bd21 was derived from PI 254867, an accession collected from Iraq and maintained in WRPIS. As of March 2010, the WRPIS has distributed a total of 1,448 seed packets to the global Brachypodium research community of approximately 130 research groups in more than 20 countries.
Please follow links below for more information:
USDA Press Release
Paper published in the Journal of Nature
International Brachypodium Initiative
Brachypodium germplasm in ARS NPGS
Fungus-on-Fungus could Benefit Chickpeas
Plant pathologist Frank Dugan and his colleagues at the ARS Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing Research Station, say biocontrol could be the way to go to combat the fungus Ascochyta rabiei, which threatens chickpea crops the world over. But now this blight-causing pathogen could meet its match in Aureobasidium pullulans,a rival fungus. Studies begun in 2003 indicate that A. pullulans inhibits A. rabiei’s ability to form or release ascospores in the over-wintered stubble, thereby curbing its infection of chickpea seedlings in the spring. More information is available in this article.
Experimental Chickpeas Fend off Caterpillar Pest
A project led by entomologist Stephen Clement at the ARS Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing Research Station, with key input from retired Pullman plant geneticist Fred Muehlbauer, has yielded new lines of chickpeas that resist attacks by the beet armyworm and could potentially save on the need for chemical insecticides. More information is available in this article.
Ten Years of Service
WRPIS Phaseolus Germplasm Technician Julie Thayer (WSU) received a ten-year service award issued from Washington State University. Her official supervisor, Pullman Farmer Manager Wayne Olson (WSU), and her technical supervisor, Phaseolus Germplasm Curator Molly Welsh (ARS) presented the award to her on December 3, 2010. Dr. Welsh stated that “Julie makes it possible to accomplish everything that they do."
Dr. Welsh has since retired, so Ms. Thayer has assumed management of the Phaseolus collection.
Unsung Heroes Award
On May 5, 2010, Vicki Bradley received the Unsung Heroes Award from the Organization of Professional Employees of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (OPEDA). The award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated a high level of service to the public directly related to the employee’s duties.
According to the leadership of OPEDA, the purpose of the designation is to identify those employees who have been unusually dedicated and efficient and had a positive attitude. Nominations are based on actual hands-on activities, and highlight the importance of public service among USDA employees.
AFM Bronze Award for Exccellence
On October 2, 2009, the ARS Information Technology Wiki Development Team received the AFM Bronze Award for Excellence for outstanding support to ARS in the conception and development of a Web-based information repository (Wiki) to be used by the ARS information technology community. Gwen participated in the Team as they worked on an information-sharing solution in response to concerns expressed during the 2008 ARS IT Specialists Conference in Las Cruces, NM. The IT Wiki Team was composed of IT Specialists from PWA, MWA and ARS Headquarters.
Special Achievement Award
Dr. Ted Kisha
Dr. Ted Kisha also received the 2008 USDA-ARS Administrator’s Outreach, Diversity, and Equal Opportunity (ODEO) Award. This annual program identifies and recognizes ARS employees for their exemplary achievements and demonstrated commitment in promoting a diverse workplace free from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation; and for their demonstrated commitment to workforce diversity through actions that clearly exceeds responsibilities of their positions or assignments in ARS.
"For outstanding leadership and participation in outreach activities to Native American and Hispanic Students.” |
Dr. Kisha (on left) receives the PWA ODEO Award from Dr. Hammond on October 22, 2008
Ted Kisha co-directed the “Pumping-Up the Math and Science Pipeline: Grade School to College” Outreach Program