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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Plant breeding symposium sprouts at Texas A&M

People around the world will be exposed to new plant breeding techniques, thanks to the efforts of several Texas A&M graduate students.
The Texas A&M Plant Breeding Symposium will be at the MSC Thursday to educate people on new and modern plant breeding technologies. Five guest speakers will complement a student research poster contest. The symposium will also be streamed online, and organizers say a sizeable audience is registered to tune in from as far as South America, Canada and Europe.
Brian Pfeiffer, plant breeding doctoral student and symposium committee member, said attendees will have the chance to hear about plant breeding knowledge that is too new for textbooks.
“Plant breeding is a dynamic field,” Pfeiffer said. “The toolbox or the technologies that we’ll be able to use are changing rapidly, so we wanted to bring people in that we thought were working on some pretty cutting edge stuff, cutting edge techniques.”
The symposium will cover a broad range of topics to cater to a wider audience. Laura Masor, molecular and environmental plant sciences doctoral student and symposium committee member, said one of the benefits of having a wide audience is the exposure for the students who will showcase their research. The online webinar will feature information about the student researchers and their work, which could help them network and find jobs with people in the plant breeding field, Masor said.
Although the students’ research will mostly be specific to Texas agriculture, the technology and science behind their work can be applied to many crops.
“I think everybody, even if they’re not from Texas or not from the United States, will think it’s still very relevant to the direction plant breeding is going,” Laura Ann Mcloud, a doctoral student in plant breeding and an organizing committee member, said.
This is the first year and the organizing committee members are optimistic.
“I think we’ve probably outdone ourselves, we’ve gone above and beyond the minimum trying to make our school look good, trying to make our department look good, trying to make our sponsors proud,” Masor said.
As of Monday the symposium had around 300 people registered to attend, Masor said, and that number should continue to go up as the event gets closer. The uniqueness of the event should also help to increase the number of attendees.
“We’re lucky that we’re in a huge geographic area and we’re not next to anything like this,” Masor said.
The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the MSC Bethancourt Grand Ballroom. To register for the online webinar, go to pbsymposium.tamu.edu.

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