Genetic tool for building better crops wins researcher national technology award

Thursday, 19 February 1998

A University of Adelaide researcher has won a prestigious Australian Technology Award for the development of cereal breeding technology which has given Australia an international edge.

Dr Peter Langridge, Associate Professor in the University's Department of Plant Science, was honoured for Excellence in the Development of Technology from a University.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Adelaide, Professor Mary O'Kane, said the award was a wonderful recognition of Dr Langridge's status as one of the world's leading molecular biologists in this field.

"Peter Langridge and his team based at the University's Waite campus have developed a technology which puts Australia way ahead of its international competitors," Professor O'Kane said.

"He is a highly-creative researcher who really has lead the way in developments in this field."

Dr Langridge said the award should also be considered a recognition of the work of his research partners and cereal breeders.

"The most critical component in the success of this program has been the strong support shown by cereal breeders," he said.

"They accepted the technology at a very early stage, when it was largely untested. This was a risk, but now we have a considerable advantage over our international competitors.

"We can now look forward to the most sophisticated, flexible and rapid wheat and barley breeding programs in the world."

Dr Langridge's team has introduced powerful new DNA molecular marker technology into cereal breeding programs in Australia.

The markers will allow breeders to rapidly detect, analyse and monitor genes which improve or detract from the growth and quality of wheat and barley lines. The technology will allow Australian breeders to use natural genetic variation to generate new, improved varieties, with genes introduced to improve growth, disease resistance, and efficient use of soil nutrients.

Not only will these developments improve Australia's position in the international marketplace, but it will also improve agricultural sustainability through reduced use of herbicides, pesticides and fertilizer.


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