Genetics and Biochemistry

Associate Professor Co-authors a Nature Paper on Food Security Through Increased Crop Diversity

Dr. Amy Lawton-Rauh, Associate Professor in Genetics and Biochemistry, is a co-author of a Nature paper on "Agriculture: Feeding the Future", which calls attention to an urgent need for genomics-based research expanding biodiversity and locally-adapted varieties in our crops while being mindful of agroecosystem stewardship (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v499/n7456/full/499023a.html). Work in the Lawton-Rauh Lab towards this effort has been highlighted as a Clemson Research story plus posted in several South Carolina newspaper websites this summer describing food security and how studies of underutilized species, crop wild relatives and weedy/invasive species research could improve land stewardship (http://media-relations.www.clemson.edu/4981/researcher-calls-for-global-food-security/). The Lawton-Rauh Lab tests fundamental hypotheses of adaptive genetic changes relevant across biological systems (fruit flies, humans, worms, mice, bacteria etc.) using population genetics, speciation genetics, and molecular evolutionary genomics concepts. The Lab studies crop wild relatives, underutilized crop species, and weedy/invasive species because they are tractable for testing these fundamental hypotheses and because they provide the opportunity to simultaneously contribute to fundamental research and to society through science in an area that we see as vital for sustainability. The aims include understanding how population dynamics and basic genomics processes modulate environmental adaptation and agroecosystem conditions including abiotic and biotic stresses (herbicide resistance, weediness/invasiveness traits, and domestication traits).