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Plant Genetics Research Unit

Welcome to the Plant Genetics Research Unit (PGRU) ARS Web site. The mission of the PGRU at Columbia, MO, is to develop new knowledge that expands our understanding of the fundamental processes controlling increased production, improved quality, and enhanced uses of corn, soybeans, and wheat; and to utilize this knowledge to develop germplasm and crop management schemes that lead to increased farm profitability and sustainability of the nation's resource base.

Research studies encompass the breeding, entomology, germplasm evaluation, genetics, and molecular genetics of corn; genetics of wheat; molecular biology and functional genomics of soybean seed composition, and soybean seed development. Results are improved breeding germplasm and selection tools and techniques; knowledge of genetic systems and host-plant resistance to insect pests; and genetic, cytogenetic, and molecular biology tools. Programs identify genetic solutions to problems affecting crop-plant efficiency and tolerance to stresses and pests; genetic foundations for cell biology, genetic engineering, and other emerging biotechnologies for crop plants; and innovations in biochemical and molecular analyses of plant genomes.

Scientific staff include four Research Geneticists working on corn genetics and breeding, one Research Entomologist working on corn host-plant resistance and insect behavior, one Research Geneticist/Curator for the MaizeGDB curation, five Research Molecular Biologists and one Research Geneticist working on soybean seed composition, and one Research Geneticist working on wheat cytogenetics and molecular biology. Two of the soybean scientists are located at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis, MO, under an agreement that is unique for ARS.

The PGRU is located on the Campus of the University of Missouri-Columbia. Scientists are affiliated with the Departments of Agronomy, Biochemistry, and Entomology in the College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources.