The preservation of plant diversity and seed heritage is a global issue at the crossroads of science, technology, and society. Today, preserving the past and the fashioning the future can no longer be in contradiction. Research must rise to the challenge of feeding growing populations without jeopardizing natural habitats and biodiversity, and with this aim, scientists are in the process of reshaping and further developing plant biotechnology in order to contribute to sustainable agriculture.
Join the discussion on this topic between Professor Christian Hardtke, Director of the Department of Plant Molecular Biology at the University of Lausanne, in Switzerland, and Professor Kent Bradford, Director of the Seed Biotechnology Center and Distinguished Professor of Plant Sciences at the University of California, Davis.
Kent Bradford is the Director of the Seed Biotechnology Center and Distinguished Professor of Plant Sciences at the University of California, Davis. His research interests include physiology, genetics, ecology, biochemistry, molecular biology and biophysics of seed development, dormancy, germination, and longevity; hormonal regulation of seed and plant development; mathematical modeling of germination responses to environmental factors and agricultural biotechnology. The UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center is a research, education, and outreach unit of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences dedicated to the development and commercialization of new plant and seed technologies for agricultural and consumer benefit.
Writer and photographer Lisa M. Hamilton focuses on agriculture and rural communities. Her work has taken her from castration time on a Wyoming sheep ranch to a meeting of radical plant breeders in Iowa; from quinoa farms in the highlands of Bolivia to sacred rice paddies along the coast of Japan. She is the author of Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness, and her work has also been published in Harper's, The Christian Science Monitor, McSweeney's, and Orion.
Christian Hardtke is the Director of the Department of Plant Molecular Biology at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. He is particularly interested in the remarkable plasticity of plants in their development and their adaptation to variable environments. His research revolves around the molecular genetic control of plant development, with a focus on genes that modify quantitative aspects of plant growth and morphology. He is particularly interested in the hormonal control of root system architecture and the organization of the plant vascular system. His studies also exploit natural genetic variation, adding an occasional evolutionary ecology twist to his work