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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

ARS Geneticist Earns Top Early Career Award / February 9, 2005 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

Edward S. Buckler
Edward S. Buckler

Buckler examines genetic variation in starch production and pro-vitamin A in maize.
Above, Buckler examines the genetic variation in starch production and pro-vitamin A in maize. His discovery of genes controlling starch content will permit breeding of corn that is more efficient for ethanol production.

More about Buckler's research (Feb. 2001)

ARS Geneticist Earns Top Early Career Award

By Luis Pons
February 9, 2005

National news release

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9— Edward S. Buckler, a research geneticist with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), today will receive that agency’s highest honor for a young scientist, the Herbert L. Rothbart Outstanding Early Career Research Scientist Award. ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific agency.

Buckler, who works at the ARS U.S. Plant, Soil and Nutrition Laboratory in Ithaca, N.Y., is being recognized for pioneering genetic approaches that let researchers identify individual genes controlling complex agronomic traits.

Buckler and other ARS scientists will be honored for their 2004 accomplishments here today at a 1 p.m. ceremony at USDA headquarters. Buckler will receive a plaque, a cash award and additional funding for his research program.

“Dr. Buckler has had a substantial impact on maize research and the scientific community at large,” said ARS Administrator Edward B. Knipling. “This is evidenced by his authorship of 26 publications in high-profile journals, as well as five software packages and the presentation of more than 38 invited papers to various groups at international and national symposia, seminars and scientific meetings.”

Buckler started his ARS career in 1998, at its Plant Science Research Unit in Raleigh, N.C. He joined the Ithaca laboratory in 2003.

He has spent the past five years developing and adapting strategies for mapping complex traits in plants to within a single gene, vastly improving gene-research resolution. These new strategies, which previously had virtually no application in plant genetics, make it possible to exploit the natural variation and diversity that have developed over the history of a crop species.

This work extends strategies that have been used extensively in medical genetics to pinpoint the causes of diseases in humans.

Also significant is Buckler’s subsequent use of this new method to evaluate genes in maize. According to Knipling, Buckler’s discovery of genes controlling starch content will permit the breeding of corn that is more efficient for ethanol production, and his discovery of genes involved in flowering time will permit the rapid adaptation of corn from one climatic zone to another.

Buckler received a bachelor’s degree in 1992 from the University of Virginia and a doctorate in 1997 from the University of Missouri. He also conducted postdoctoral research at North Carolina State in 1997 and 1998. Buckler has been elected to the Maize Genetics Executive Committee, and he serves as an advisor to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the U.S. National Science Foundation and the European Union’s Scientific Framework.

A native of Arlington, Va., Buckler lives in Ithaca with his wife Carlyn and son Edward.

Last Modified: 2/8/2005