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Plant Sciences Members Attend Biennial Joint Meeting of Bean and Pulse Crop Associations

NDSU Plant Sciences faculty and graduate students participated in presentations during the Bean Improvement Cooperative and North American Pulse Improvement Association joint meeting in Portland, Oregon. One graduate student won an award for her presentation.
Plant Sciences Members Attend Biennial Joint Meeting of Bean and Pulse Crop Associations

Samira Mafi Moghaddam was awarded the BIC Student Recognition Award

The 2013 biennial joint meeting of the Bean Improvement Cooperative (BIC) and the North American Pulse Improvement Association (NAPIA) was held October 27-November 1, in Portland, Oregon. 

The focus of the BIC meeting was genetic improvement and breeding in dry bean, as well as dry bean pathology research.  NDSU faculty attending were Dr. Kenneth Grafton, VP for Agricultural Affairs, Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources, and Director of the ND Ag Experiment Station; Dr. Phil McClean, Director of the Genomics and Bioinformatics Program and professor of dry bean genetics and biotechnology; and Dr. Juan Osorno, associate professor in dry edible bean breeding. Grafton served as a session moderator, McClean gave a presentation titled, “Behind the Scenes of the Common Bean Genome,” and Osorno, a member of the BIC Coordinating Committee, helped plan the meeting, served as a session moderator and participated in reviews of oral and poster presentations for awards.  Plant Sciences research staff Rian Lee and Sujan Mamidi were contributors to some of the work presented.

Plant Sciences graduate students attending were Angela Linares, Chiti Agarwal, Raphael Colbert, and Kiran Ghising, all advised by Osorno, and Genomics graduate student Samira Mafi Moghaddam, advised by McClean.  Linares and Mafi Moghaddam gave oral presentations.  Agarwal, Colbert and Ghising each presented a poster.  Mafi Moghaddam won the BIC Student Recognition Award for her presentation, a collaborative work titled, “Molecular Genetic Analysis of the Phaseolus vulgaris P Locus.”  The award is given in recognition of an outstanding oral presentation, based on scientific content and presentation skills.

Approximately 175 people from all over the world attended the BIC meeting.  According to the BIC website, “the proportion of international members increased three-fold from 1957 (16%) to 2009 (53%).” Osorno has noticed a trend toward more research on nutrition and the health benefits of beans.  In addition, he was “happy to see a lot of outcomes from [The Common Bean Coordinated Agricultural Project (BeanCAP)],” with at least 14 oral presentations related to findings from this project. 

The BeanCAP, a USDA-NIFA funded project, and historically the largest single investment in U.S. bean research, seeks to improve the nutritional status of common bean by identifying molecular markers that will help map genes of economic importance.  NDSU is the leading institution in the project, which is led by McClean. Other NDSU faculty that are part of the BeanCAP project include Osorno and Dr. Julie Garden-Robinson.

Established in 1957, the BIC is an informal organization whose mission is to facilitate the exchange of information and materials for the improvement of bean production worldwide.  The founders hoped that the organization would become international, so that it would “serve, through all scientists contributing in any manner to the improvement of beans, the peoples of all countries in the world.” The BIC is run by representatives from academia and industry, and its members include scientists, students, private organizations and interested lay-people.  The group publishes an annual report, which includes member research reports and germplasm releases. For more information, go to http://bic.css.msu.edu

The focus of the NAPIA meeting was current research advances in pulse crops, including pea, lentil, chickpea, faba bean, and lupin.  NDSU professor and pulse crops breeder Dr. Kevin McPhee attended the meeting.  Individual session topics ranged from agronomic applications to detailed molecular analysis of trait inheritance and species relationships.  A number of diseases and quality attributes were covered.  McPhee said the topics were interesting and enlightening.  “This is a small meeting of researchers involved with the pulse crops and it is always valuable to network and keep abreast of current research accomplishments within the group,” he said. 

McPhee also attended a companion meeting of the Pisum and Cool Season Legumes Crop Germplasm Committee, for which he serves as secretary.  Abstracts of the NAPIA meeting will be published in Pisum Genetics, for which McPhee serves as editor.

NAPIA’s originating organization, the National Pea Improvement Association, was started 56 years ago as an organization supporting fresh pea breeders.  Over the years, the focus began to turn more toward dry pea.  About 10 years ago, the name was changed to NAPIA to include legumes and the Canadian industry.  The mission of NAPIA is to provide a forum to share scientific results and research of fresh peas and dry pulse crops.  The organization has about 50 members representing academia and industry.

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