Wes Jackson, Founder and President of The Land Institute, visits Saint Louis University and the Missouri Botanical Garden
Last week we were delighted to welcome Dr. Wes Jackson, Founder and President of The Land Institute, to Saint Louis University (SLU) and the Missouri Botanical Garden. Wes' visit was sponsored by the Saint Louis University Center for Sustainability. Many thanks go to the Center for Sustainability, the SLU Department of Biology and the Missouri Botanical Garden for helping to host Wes' visit!
The primary goal of The Land Institute is "to develop an agricultural system with the ecological stability of the prairie and a grain yield comparable to that from annual crops." Although almost all of our crops were domesticated thousands of years ago, herbaceous perennials are not well-represented among domesticates (see Van Tassel, DeHaan, and Cox. Missing domesticated plant forms: can artificial selection fill the gap? Evolutionary Applications 3: 434 - 452). Major ongoing research programs at The Land Institute are aimed at domesticating perennial grains and legumes for use in a perennial polyculture that mimics the natural landscape. This topic is of great interest to our lab, where for many years we have been studying evolution of perennial crops under domestication, geographic patterns of genetic variation in perennial crop wild relatives, and the genomic basis of adaptation in long-lived plant species. Consequently, we were thrilled when Wes accepted our offer to visit St. Louis, and had a great time during his visit. For an additional post detailing Wes' visit please check out Jennifer Fleischmann's post on the EarthDance web site.
Miller Lab members