New meeting integrates genomics and agriculture to address 21st-century challenges

St. Louis, MO (February 19, 2020) – The Genome Partnership announces the formation of AGBT-Ag, a new scientific conference focusing on the global impact of breakthrough innovations made possible through agricultural genomics.  Held annually, AGBT-Ag will be the third global meeting organized by The Genome Partnership, a St. Louis-based non-profit that advances research, promotes education, and expands commerce in genome science and technology.  AGBT-Ag will be joining a family of prestigious genomics conferences including the AGBT General Meeting (celebrating its 20th year this month) and the AGBT Precision Health Meeting. The inaugural Ag Conference will be held in the Spring of 2021. 

“One of humanity’s greatest challenges is to sustainably produce more food on existing agricultural lands,” says Sarah Hearne, co-chair of the AGBT-Ag conference and Principal Scientist and maize geneticist at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT).  “AGBT-Ag builds upon the extraordinarily successful AGBT General Meeting to foster the needed dialogue and exchange of ideas to bring about the fourth agricultural revolution,” adds Dr. Hearne.

A better understanding of the genomes of animals and plants is fundamental to feeding and fueling the world.  Just as genome technologies have already begun to transform the practice of medicine and bring about a profoundly enhanced understanding of human disease, the same innovations also have tremendous potential in agriculture.  The vision for AGBT-Ag is to be the global space where the brightest minds, best practitioners, and most prodigious influencers in the world of genomics and agriculture converge to foster new and ground-breaking innovation.

“Genomics technology will be central in the drive for the step change improvements in productivity and sustainability of modern agriculture that the world desperately needs,” says John Hickey, co-chair of AGBT-Ag and Chair of Animal Breeding, The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh. “The conference launches at perhaps the most exciting time for agriculture in the past hundred years – agriculture is embarking on its 4th revolution, its digital revolution, which promises to be as impactful as the green revolution of 50 years ago, or the mechanization of agriculture a century ago,” says Hickey.

AGBT-Ag will bring together the world’s leading genome researchers, data scientists, breeders, policy influencers, funders, and technology innovators from the global North and South who wish to embrace opportunities to redesign terrestrial and aquatic agriculture. Because of its focus on the integration of genomics and agriculture, AGBT-Ag is uniquely positioned to enable and enhance communication among stakeholders in order to address the escalating needs of a changing Earth.

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