The 9 Billion People Problem: Rod Wing on Plant Genomics

Rod Wing, Director of the Arizona Genomics Institute


Listen (4:38) The 9 billion people problem

Listen (4:11) How close are we to a super green crop?

Listen (4:04) Why do grains have so many more genes than humans?

Listen (5:41) Thoughts on anti GMO crowd and gluten free dieting trend

Listen (7:25) Majority of genomes out there are incomplete

Listen (4:06) Funding for plant genomics

By 2050, there will be 9 billion people on the planet. What will they eat?

This is the question that led Rod Wing, Director of the Arizona Genomics Institute, into the field of plant genomics. What has been accomplished so far in the mission to come up with some super green crops?  And how does Rod see anti-GMO sentiment and the recent trend toward gluten free diets factoring in? 

After answering these questions, he dives into a discussion on which sequencing instruments he has used for plant work. Unsurprisingly, Rod prefers the PacBio long reads even though the cost is much higher than with short read technology. Rod refers to most of the genomes done on Illumina sequencers as GAS genomes, or Gene Assembled Space.

“I call them GAS genomes because they’re full of hot hair. They’re not complete genomes,” he says.

Finishing out the show, Rod tells about a new partnership with the Chinese, $9 Billion for 9 Billion People.

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