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Wayne Hanna and Brian Schwartz CAES News
Home Turf
When the University of Georgia Bulldogs take the field against the University of Florida Gators for their annual football rivalry on Saturday, the teams will be playing in neutral territory at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. But the grass they are playing on could be considered home turf for the Dawgs.
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Pumpkin Breeding
The quest for the perfect pumpkin each fall doesn’t start at the local patch. In fact, it starts up to 10 years prior for researchers like University of Georgia plant geneticist Cecilia McGregor. McGregor leads breeding efforts in the selective pumpkin variety called the ‘Orange Bulldog’, following the retirement of the program’s founder, horticulturist George Boyhan.
Hemp is the same species as marijuana (Cannabis sativa), and the only difference is a legal one: Plants with less than 0.3% of the chemical that gives users a “high”— tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — are hemp, and anything over 0.3% THC is marijuana. CAES News
Hemp Genetics
When you buy something at the store, you have a pretty good idea of what you’re getting no matter where you buy it — a Coke is a Coke, Oreos are Oreos — and whether you buy them in Atlanta or Seattle doesn’t really change what you get. Farmers are in a similar position when they choose what to plant, but in the burgeoning field of industrial hemp, it turns out that things are much more complicated.
At UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, 2021 Borlaug Undergraduate Scholar Samantha Wegener discovered precision plant breeding — the combination of gene editing and engineering — which showed her a path to solving complicated issues to improve plant varieties. CAES News
2021 Borlaug Undergraduate Scholar
Samantha Wegener enrolled at the University of Georgia’s Tifton campus after earning her associate’s degree in biology from the Technical College of the Lowcountry in Beaufort, South Carolina. It was during her last semester in Beaufort that Wegener was introduced to the world of plant breeding.
Professor David Bertioli and senior research scientist Soraya Leal-Bertioli work together with peanut plants in their greenhouses at the Center for Applied Genetic Technologies. CAES News
Best of Both Worlds
The wild relatives of modern peanut plants have the ability to withstand disease in ways that modern peanut plants can’t. The genetic diversity of these wild relatives means that they can shrug off the diseases that kill farmers’ peanut crops, but they also produce tiny nuts that are difficult to harvest because they burrow deep in the soil.
CAES Dean and Director Nick Place (left) and UGA blueberry entomologist Ashfaq Sial ceremonially plant the first blueberry bush in the new research orchard at UGA's Durham Horticulture Farm in Watkinsville, Georgia. CAES News
Blueberry Research
Native to North America, blueberries are the most-recently commercially domesticated fruit in the U.S. Just a little over a century ago researchers began studying this wild berry with an intent to develop improved varieties for commercial cultivation.
Brent Marable, assistant director of the UGA Innovation Gateway office, has been elected as president of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Alumni Association Board of Directors for the 2019-2020 term. CAES News
CAES Alumni Association
Brent Marable, assistant director of the University of Georgia Innovation Gateway office, has been elected as president of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Alumni Association Board of Directors for the 2019-2020 term.
UGA Extension cotton agronomist Mark Freeman tells a crowd about the cotton variety trials being conducted at the J. Phil Campbell Sr. Research and Education Center at the farm's 2019 corn boil. CAES News
Corn Boil
About 180 northeast Georgians and University of Georgia faculty and staff toured the J. Phil Campbell Sr. Research and Education Center on June 25 as part of the center’s Annual Corn Boil and Field Day.
Horticulture Professor Esther van der Knapp of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences worked with a team of geneticists around the world to create a fuller inventory of the genetic diversity of the tomato. They release a pangenome for the tomato in the May edition of Nature Genetics. (photos by Merritt Melancon) CAES News
Tomato Pan-genome
 It’s summer, and Georgia gardeners are anxiously awaiting their first tomato harvest. Just in time for those first tomato sandwiches, researchers at the University of Georgia have helped unlock the mystery of what separates today’s tomatoes from their inedible ancestors.
Greenhouse and nursery growers from across the southeastern United States converged in Athens June 12-15 for the inaugural Academy of Crop Production hosted by the UGA Department of Horticulture. Part of the program included the annual Industry Open House at the Trial Gardens at UGA. CAES News
Trial Gardens Open House
Each year the Trial Gardens at the University of Georgia hosts a summer open house to show off the season’s best plants. This year they’re working to beat the heat by moving the party from July to June.