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Agricultural Society Honors UW Scientist for Research Efforts

May 22, 2017
man speaking into microphone and standing in front of grape vines
Sadanand Dhekney modifies and uses a grape plant’s existing DNA sequences to obtain desirable characteristics, while nothing new is added. (UW Extension Photo)

A scientist at the Sheridan Research and Extension Center who uses precision breeding to improve grape varieties and vineyard management has been recognized by the national honor society of agriculture.

Sadanand Dhekney received a Faculty Award of Merit from the Wyoming chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta during the organization’s award ceremony in April at the University of Wyoming.

Dhekney is an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and also teaches at Sheridan College. He uses techniques in breeding and biotechnology, along with improved management practices, for expanding grapevine production in Wyoming.

Old technology inserts transgenic DNA sequences into plants to modify crops, such as making them herbicide-resistant.

“The next generation has nothing to do with inserting transgenes in plants,” says Dhekney, who has had six researchers from other countries request to work in his laboratory and learn the techniques. “The existing DNA sequences from plants and their wild relatives are modified and utilized. Nothing new is added.”

The Sheridan center is part of the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station based in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Dhekney joined UW in 2012.

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