Food for thought from plant and animal genomes
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Genome Biology 2013, 14:302 doi:10.1186/gb-2013-14-2-302Published: 27 February 2013
A report on the Plant and Animal Genome XXI meeting, held in San Diego, USA, January 12-16, 2013.
On 12 January, on a morning full of blue sky and cold sunshine, the Plant and Animal Genome XXI meeting opened its doors for the 21st time at the Town and Country Hotel in San Diego. I arrived a couple of hours late, a newbie toting a roller suitcase, a little unprepared for the sheer scope of the meeting I was about to attend. The diversity of topics and attendees at the meeting, 'The Largest Ag-Genomics Meeting in the World', was stunning. Within my first hour, I would wind up eating my boxed lunch with a member of the transitional government of Egypt, who moonlights as a grad student in Colorado; and within my first afternoon, I would hear talks about drought resistance in rice, marker-assisted breeding in sweet cherry and transgressive segregation in cotton, not to mention the 12 concurrent sessions on topics from citrus genomes to swine breeding. As a plant developmental biologist interested in international agriculture, I chose talks with an eye towards the border between basic and applied research, the brackish zone where molecular biological innovations find their way into research centers, field trials, and ultimately, farmers' fields. In this report, I will present examples of the diverse and exciting work being done at this intersection, and will conclude by highlighting some emerging trends and challenges on the horizon.