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Stacking Traits to Create the Varieties of the Future

Stacking traits in plant breeding isn’t anything new, it has been done for years. However, as herbicide resistance continues to grow, plant breeders are now focusing more on how multi-stacking traits can help. Trait stacking isn’t just about plant disease though, it can also make plants more nutritious or able to withstand stress such as droughts.

On the March 29 episode of Seed Speaks, we’re taking a closer look how trait stacking has evolved and what it means for plant breeding. We’re joined by Catherine Hatcher, North America soybean south market segment lead for Syngenta; Jeremy Ross, professor and soybean extension agronomist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension Service; and Michael Dzakovich, a research plant physiologist with the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS).

Hatcher completed her PhD in plant breeding at the University of Tennessee and started her career as a soybean breeder with Monsanto/Bayer. She has a decade of experience in breeding and portfolio management working with both private and research entities. Before joining Syngenta, she managed PepsiCo’s global citrus research and development technical portfolio. In her current position she leads Syngenta’s soybean south market segment team.

Ross has worked for the past 26 years at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service. He began his career in 1996 as a program associate in plant pathology and later was the first corn and grain sorghum research verification coordinator. In 2007, he started his current position as the extension soybean agronomist where he provides applied agronomic research and educational programs for producers, crop consultants, industry personnel and county extension agents in Arkansas.

Dzakovich works as a research plant physiologist with the USDA-ARS at the Children’s Nutrition Research Center. His lab’s research focuses on addressing nutritional deficiencies impacting children and mothers to maximize wellbeing throughout their lifespan. Specific areas of focus include optimizing nutrient delivery from plant foods by leveraging genetic and environmental manipulation, determining the regulation and production of plant molecules, and developing methods to efficiently produce intrinsically labeled crops for nutritional interventions.

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