April 6-7, 2017 | Lincoln, Nebraska
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2017 NRIC speakers
portrait of Voytas


Dan Voytas
University of Minnesota
Precise Engineering of Plant Genomes
8:20 - 9:00 am, Friday 7 April
Plant agriculture is poised at a technological inflection point. Recent advances in genome engineering make it possible to precisely alter DNA sequences in living cells, providing unprecedented control over a plant’s genetic material. Potential future crops derived through genome engineering include those that better withstand pests, that have enhanced nutritional value, and that are able to grow on marginal lands. In many instances, crops with such traits will be created by altering only a few nucleotides among the billions that comprise plant genomes. As such, crops created through genome engineering might prove to be more acceptable to the public than plants that carry foreign DNA in their genomes.
Dan Voytas is a professor in the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development and the Director of the Center for Genome Engineering at the University of Minnesota. He graduated from Harvard College in 1984 and received his Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1990, and conducted postdoctoral research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Prior to joining the University of Minnesota, Dr. Voytas was a professor at Iowa State University (1992-2008). He currently serves as Chief Science Officer for Calyxt, a biotechnology company focused on making new crop varieties through genome engineering.