Some of the top plant genetics engineers on the planet are in central Iowa today for a symposium at Iowa State University. Stephen Howell is director of I-S-U’s Plant Sciences Institute, which is hosting the event. Up to 250 scientists and researchers from all over the world are expected for the symposium on the topic “Transposition, Recombination and Application to Plant Genomics.” Howell says agricultural biotechnology has changed the face of farming and helped make all sorts of plants stronger, tastier and resistant to pests and the elements.One focus of the symposium is on what’s called “transposable element research” — which involves altering the genetics of corn, for example, to make it deal better with stress from extreme heat, wet conditions or even grasshoppers.Howell says I-S-U has become a research leader in plant sciences and hosting the symposium “exemplifies our scientific leadership.” The meeting opened today and runs through Sunday.
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