Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Logan Scientist Wins Top Regional Research Honor / February 12, 2003 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

Agricultural Research Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
ARS News and Information Search News and Info Science for Kids Image Gallery Agricultural Research Magazine Publications and Newsletters News Archive News and Info home ARS News and Information
Latest news | Subscribe

Photo: Three varieties of rice. Link to photo information
Click image for caption and other photo information.

National news release

Story about Larson's research

Logan Scientist Wins Top Regional Research Honor

By Marcia Wood
February 12, 2003

BELTSVILLE, Md., Feb. 12--Discoveries about the genetic makeup of Great Basin wildrye, bluebunch wheatgrass, and other rangeland grasses in the American West have netted a top regional research honor for Utah scientist Steven R. Larson.

A research geneticist with the Agricultural Research Service’s Forage and Range Research Laboratory in Logan, Larson has been named the “Early Career Research Scientist of 2002" for the agency’s Northern Plains Area. In addition to Utah, the Northern Plains Area includes Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, and Nebraska. ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific research agency.

The “Early Career” award is given to scientists who have been with ARS for no more than seven years, and who received their highest academic degree within the past 10 years. Larson and other top ARS scientists were recognized in an awards ceremony today at the agency’s Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center here.

“Dr. Larson’s investigations are revealing new information about genetic diversity--the extent to which plants within a species vary in their 'expression’ of traits, such as how quickly their seeds sprout,” said Edward B. Knipling, acting ARS administrator. “In addition, Dr. Larson’s studies about inheritance of this and other key traits have been invaluable to colleagues who are breeding new generations of native and naturalized plants.

“Dr. Larson’s research results also help specialists with other agencies and organizations concerned with rangeland health and productivity” Knipling added.

In earlier work with the Agricultural Research Service, Larson played a key role in tracking the inheritance of genes that control the amount of a compound, known as phytic acid, in corn, barley, and rice. The work is a boon to humans, livestock and the environment. That’s because phytic acid, a form of phosphorus, can interfere with uptake of other nutrients essential to people and animals.

Larson’s discoveries about the structure of a low-phytic acid gene called LPA-1 sped the development of the world’s first breeding material for low-phytic acid barley and rice. These grains have a higher amount of digestible forms of phosphorus than conventional barley and rice. That could reduce the amount of indigestible phosphorus that could otherwise end up in the animals’ manure. Excess phosphorus from manure might eventually pollute streams, lakes or rivers.

Larson received his bachelor of science degree in biology from the University of North Dakota in 1988, his master of science in genetics from the University of Minnesota in 1990, and his doctorate in crop science from Montana State University in 1995.

He began working with ARS in 1995 at Aberdeen, Idaho, then joined the Logan laboratory in 1998.

Top | News Staff | Photo Staff

E-mail the web team Privacy and other policies Site map About ARS Information Staff Bottom menu

Home | News | Pubs | Magazine | Photos | Sci4Kids | Search
About ARS Info | Site map | Policies | E-mail us

Last Modified: 2/19/2003
Footer Content Back to Top of Page