SASKATOON, SK (June 3, 2005): University of Saskatchewan PhD student Aaron Beattie is using the tools of modern biotechnology to find the genes that govern resistance to net blotch, a fungal disease that can cut yields in Canadian crops by up to 30 per cent.
Beattie's work is being recognized with the Young Scientist Footsteps Award.Adjudicated by Genome Prairie
and sponsored by the Council for Biotechnology Information, the award recognizes graduate research achievement in the field of plant biotechnology.He
will be honoured at a reception at 4:00 p.m. on June 6 at the U of S Agriculture Building Atrium
"Young people tend to leave Saskatchewan, but the opportunities to come home and do something positive are right here," Beattie
By sorting through thousands of genes, Beattie
is working to identify those that confer resistance to net blotch, a disease that affects barley crops every season.This knowledge will help plant breeders develop better resistant varieties.This promises to reduce or eliminate the need for fungicides, cut down on expensive inputs for farmers, and put less pressure on the environment.
After a decade of studying human and plant genetics across Canada, Beattie
took a break in New Zealand at Southern Seed Technology Limited
harvesting winter nursery plots of barley, wheat and oats.That's where he
discovered barley germplasm from the University of Saskatchewan
undergoing extended tests in the southern hemisphere.