The new Advanced Genetics Laboratory wingan
addition to ARS' existing laboratory and office building in the southeastern
Idaho community of Aberdeenprovides much-needed laboratory space for
researchers who develop new and improved potatoes and "small grains" such as
oats, barley, and wheat.
New Addition Dedicated at USDA Grains, Potato
Research Lab By Marcia Wood August 17, 2006
ABERDEEN, Idaho, Aug. 17A new $5 million addition to the
U.S. Department of Agriculture's
Small Grains Germplasm Research Facility was dedicated here today.
Scientists from the USDA's
Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and
colleagues from the University of Idaho
will use the lab and office space for designing and conducting experiments
aimed at breeding superior potatoes and grains such as wheat, oats and
ARS scientists at the Aberdeen laboratory were the co-developers of
Ranger Russet, now
the second most widely planted potato in Idaho, the nation's leading
potato-producing state. They also developed Americas first livestock-feed
barley that helps reduce phosphorus pollution of creeks, rivers and other
The newly completed, 12,000-square-foot addition is called the
Advanced Genetics Laboratory and was built at a cost of about $5.1 million. Its
exterior matches that of the main laboratory, which was completed in 1987. The
newly expanded building is located within a University of Idaho research
complex, enhancing opportunities for collaborative studies.
"In addition to breeding superior, grain-bearing plants and
collaborating with university researchers to develop top-quality potatoes, the
ARS scientists at this lab manage a world-renowned collection of wheat, rice,
oat, barley, rye, triticale and other small-grain crops from around the world,"
said USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics
Merle D. Pierson. "Rare and wild relatives of these species also are
safeguarded in the collection. That's so the genetic diversity, or genepool, of
the plants won't be lost to urban encroachment or natural disasters, such as
attacks by insects or diseases."
What's more, the Aberdeen laboratory is headquarters for research on
new, small-grain-based feeds for farm-raised rainbow trout.
Besides Pierson, invited speakers for today's event included Senator
Michael D. Crapo; Idaho Governor James Risch; Aberdeen Mayor Morgan Anderson;
John Hammel, dean of the University of Idaho
College of Agriculture and Life
Sciences; ARS associate administrator
A. Betschart; and ARS Pacific West Area director
ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency.