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General Information

 

Our Mission

The mission of the ASRF is to encourage basic research in seed biology that has the potential for application to more than one crop species and to facilitate the transfer of resulting technology to benefit the seed industry, farmers/growers and consumers on a global basis.

History and Organization

The American Seed Research Foundation (ASRF), is an extension of the American Seed Trade Association, and was established in 1959 as a tax exempt, scientific and educational organization, to raise and distribute funds for seed related basicresearch.

The ASRF is managed as a separate non-profit organization under the guidance of the ASTA, with a twelve person Board and approximately thirty current member companies. The ASRF founding Endowment from Seedsmen Bert Walcott, Fred Rohnert and J.R. (Bob) Huey, all who were past Presidents of ASTA, is maintained as a principle sum of money. Research projects are funded by annual membership dues.

What We Do at ASRF

Basic research in seed science takes considerable investment in resources and time. Often, basic seed research cannot be justified and is therefore ignored by private seed companies. Public experiment stations do some basic research in the area of seed science, but funding and facilities are limited and often prioritized to other activities. ASRF encourages basic seed science research by directly underwriting specific projects, thereby enhancing public information on seed growth and development.

The ASRF Manages

  • Scientific Advisory Council
  • Vegetable & Flower Permanent Research Fund
  • Corn Permanent Research Fund
  • Soybean Permanent Research Fund
  • Operation Student Connection
  • Roger Krueger Memorial Scholarship

Research Accomplishments

ASRF-funded research has had a major impact on the public’s understanding of why plants behave as they do. It has served as a catalyst for encouraging investment in basic seed biology research for more than 50 years, funding 54 project proposals with an investment in support of basic seed research exceeding $800,000. ASRF funds stimulated additional research support, with a three-to-one multiplier effect adding another $2.5 million in matching funds from cooperating organizations. In total, ASRF funds have been distributed to 32 public institutions and 69 individual seed researchers. ASRF research accomplishments include:

Genome fluidity and ‘allele-switching’ frequency in soybean: impact on seed quality
Dr. Susana Goggi, Iowa State University
Can soybean plants adapt to climate change through stress-induced higher frequencies of allele switching? Could Mendel’s Law of Genetics change as a result of climate change?  The answers to these questions could revolutionize the way scientists look at the impact of climate change on plants. Some of the sources of stress used in these studies can generate de novo genetic variation in soybean cultivars that can be used in breeding and selection of superior seed varieties.

Understanding the efficacy of seed treatments
Dr. Alan Taylor, Cornell University
Characterizing seed coat permeability to compounds with properties similar to systemic seed treatments routinely used for early season pest management is the focus of Alan Taylor’s research. Seed coat permeability varied by crop species is related to seed coat morphology and composition – a topic of great interest to today’s seed industry. Information from Taylor’s research has provided an understanding of seed treatment phytotoxicity observed in laboratory germination tests. It has also shed light on the uptake of disinfectants and seed treatments for seeds of different species.

Understanding how see becomes infested with Acidovorax citrulli
Dr. Ron Walcott
, University of Georgia
Ron Walcott’s ASRF-funded research is aimed at improving the understanding of how seeds become infested with Acidovorax citrulli, the casual agent of bacterial fruit blotch (BFB) of cucurbits. This research has improved the accuracy and speed of seed health testing, and in turn has significantly reduced the numbers of BFB outbreaks in the U.S. as well as losses associated with the devastating disease.

Fusarium disease of corn, soybean, and wheat
Dr. Gary Munkvold
, Iowa State University
Fusarium species cause some of the most costly diseases in grain crops. U.S. soybean losses are estimated to be more than $500 million/yr. from a combination of seedling disease, Fusarium root rot, and sudden death syndrome. Wheat losses are estimated at over $500 million/yr. Munkvold’s research focuses on the initial infection processes in seedlings and the role of fungal metabolites in the process. The successful completion of Munkvold’s research may lead to the identification of genetic targets for resistance to the infection.

Other Selected Accomplishments

Dr. Hiro Nonogaki, University of Oregon
Molecular mechanisms of seed germination and seedling establishment.

Dr. Richard Vierling, Indiana Crop Improvement Association
Construction of nanotechnological molecular units that may be applicable in seed research.

Dr. William Tracy, University of Wisconsin, Madison
QTL modifiers of sugary corn endosperm to define relationships between kernel composition and germinations.

Dr. Kent Bradford, University of California Davis
Methodology to assess seed quality in vegetable crops.

Membership

Membership in ASRF is open to any company involved or interested in basic seed science research.

Benefits include:

  • First access to all research results and access to our research archive
  • A voice in our research direction
  • Involvement with our many activities
  • An opportunity to help shape the future

 

 

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