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David M Grant

Geneticist Plants


Corn Insect & Crop Genetics Research Unit

 

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David Grant
Geneticist (Plants)

 

Education: 
B.S. Biology, SUNY Stony Brook, 1971
Ph.D. Genetics, University of Chicago, 1977

Research interests: 
Development and maintenance of a modern genetics and genomics database. Methods for data curation from the literature and from sequence- and genetics-centric 'big data' collections. Novel visualization tools for genetic and genomic data.

Aims: 
To develop and maintain SoyBase, the USDA soybean genetics and genomics database. To integrate genetic, genomic and phenotypic data into a user-focused resource for the soybean, legume and wider plant communities.

Background: 
One of the challenges faced by plant breeders is efficiently integrating the rapidly growing body of genetic and genomic data into their programs. For example, combining an awareness of the genes controlling important agronomic traits with molecular genetics tools such as SNP arrays can significantly speed up the stacking of these genes into superior cultivars. The challenge is that these data are typically made available in hundreds of individual papers each year and are thus not always seen by breeders. What is needed is a single information resource that collects and integrates these data and presents them as information in a context that is readily usable by plant breeders and other plant scientists. SoyBase was designed to be this information resource.

Approach: 
SoyBase focuses on the collection and integration of genomic, genetic and phenotypic data about soybean from researchers worldwide. Each new data set is correlated with those already in SoyBase to develop internal links between these data. These links are used to generate web pages that summarize what is known about a subject of interest. This approach combines a standardized way of presenting the data with links to relevant data both at SoyBase and externally into a user-centric resource and tool set.

Outcomes:
SoyBase is used by both public and private researchers and plant breeders to speed up the development of improved soybean cultivars. It also allows other plant researchers to leverage the extensive data sets from soybean in their work with other legumes and crop species.