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University of Georgia

Professor Peggy Ozias-Akins
Coastal Plains Research Centre, University of Georgia, USA
Dr Peggy Ozias-Akins has been researching apomixis in grasses since joining the University of Georgia in 1986, initially to determine the inheritance of apospory and associated molecular markers using inter- and intra-specific crosses, and subsequently to identify candidate genes linked with the trait and to test their function.  Knowledge of genetic control of the trait in naturally occurring apomicts will expand the potential to engineer apomixis into multiple crops, including those that are targets of this collaborative research project. Dr Ozias-Akins is a Co-PI on the Capturing Heterosis Project and is based in the Department of Horticulture, University of Georgia-Tifton Campus, Tifton, GA USA.

Joann A. Conner
Research Scientist, Department of Horticulture, University of Georgia
Dr Joann Conner has been working in the field of apomixis, asexual reproduction through seed, since 1999 in the lab of Dr Peggy Ozias-Akins. Her main focus has been to isolate the genes required for apomixis using molecular dissection of naturally occurring apomicts in the Pennisetum/Cenchrus species. Apomixis in the Pennisetum/Cenchrus species is genetically controlled by a single dominant locus. This work has led to the identification and functional analysis of the ASGR-BABY-BOOM-LIKE gene. Dr Conner is a research scientist on the Capturing Heterosis Project and is based in the Department of Horticulture, University of Georgia-Tifton Campus, Tifton, GA USA.

Zhifen Zhang
Postdoctoral Associate
Dr Zhifen Zhang is a Postdoctoral Associate on the Capturing Heterosis Project with expertise in tissue culture and transformation of recalcitrant crops, e.g. sunflower and cowpea. He obtained his PhD at The University of Ohio, conducting research in John Finer’s lab.

Dr. Zhang is based in the Department of Horticulture, University of Georgia-Tifton Campus, Tifton, GA USA.