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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Local Scientist Honored for Gene Editing Discoveries / January 22, 2004 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

National news release

Local Scientist Honored for Gene Editing Discoveries

By Marcia Wood
January 22, 2004

NEW ORLEANS, La., January 22--Pioneering research on how to edit the array of genes in green plants has garnered a national scientific honor for Albany, Calif., plant molecular biologist David W. Ow. He's winner of the 2003 Agricultural Research Service Senior Scientist of the Year award for the research agency's Pacific West Area.

The region encompasses California, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, and Alaska.

"Dr. Ow's discoveries have enabled plant breeders worldwide to remove research-related genes that are necessary in the initial stages of research, but aren't needed--later on--in the harvested crops," said ARS Acting Administrator Edward B. Knipling. "Dr. Ow's innovative studies have contributed significantly to the safety of genetically engineered foods. In addition, it has helped streamline development of superior plants that yield higher quality food, feed, or fiber crops."

The honor also acknowledges Ow's investigations of genes that enable plants to cleanse soil by taking up toxic compounds such as cadmium. Findings from his studies have helped in the development of new, environmentally friendly strategies to decontaminate polluted sites.

Ow received a plaque, cash prize, and additional funding for his work today at an ARS national awards ceremony here.

He has presented results of his research at major national and international scientific meetings, and has authored or coauthored more than 80 scientific articles and presentations.

A native of San Francisco, Calif., Ow received his bachelor of arts degree in genetics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1978, and his doctorate in cellular and developmental biology from Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., in 1983.

Ow joined the Agricultural Research Service in 1986 as one of the first principal investigators of the Plant Gene Expression Center, a joint venture of ARS and the University of California, Berkeley. The Center is now recognized internationally as one of the world's premier centers of research on genes that control the inner workings of green plants.

ARS is celebrating its 50th anniversary as the U.S. Department of Agriculture's principal in-house scientific research agency.

Last Modified: 2/19/2014
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