Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Dr. Michael D. Purugganan shares insights on genomic innovations in rice

Michael D. Purugganan, Silver Professor of Biology at New York University, provided insights on understanding the evolution of rice and integrating different scales of information in relation to genomics at the seminar to  discuss selection on rice gene expression, inferring gene regulatory networks, and variation in 3D genomic architecture.

The seminar, Systems genomics of rice: Selection, 3D chromatin structure and stress response, was held on 8 August in the Rural Economic Development and Renewable Energy Center in the University of Philippines Los BaƱos (UPLB).

Prof. Purugganan discussed results from collaborative studies conducted by scientists from New York University, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), New York University Abu Dhabi, and Fordham University. These results highlight the link between evolutionary biology and fields such as plant breeding and agriculture.

It also emphasized the transition from genetic information at the genome level to crop attributes such as yield. Another highlight of the seminar is on the variation in 3D genomic architecture- an ongoing study that aims to understand the three dimensional architecture of the genome of plants, specifically different varieties or species of rice.

“One of the things that we’re doing is looking at integrating scales of genomic information from the genome all the way to what’s going on in the field environment,” Dr. Purugganan said. “This is actually a big challenge in biology in general.”

Moreover, he emphasized that the presence of genetic and genomic resources at IRRI offers an opportunity for studying crop evolution, specifically delving into various facets of the biological makeup of rice. Dr. Purugganan also stressed the challenge of effectively scaling and integrating genomic information from varying levels to derive biological insights.

The event is part of the Capacity Building for Higher Education and Establishment of the Agricultural Genomics Research Center initiative under the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), IRRI and UPLB.  It marks a significant stride in capacitating universities and establishing agricultural genomics research centers.

The seminar series is designed to cascade vital knowledge in the field of genomics to a wide-ranging audience, including scientists, researchers, and students keen on expanding their horizons in the rapidly evolving field of genomics.

For those who missed this seminar,  visit or access the recording here.

Photos by Weljane Lou P. Mantalaba


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