S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 7 POTATO GROWER 27 University Of Minnesota Hires New Head Of Potato Breeding And Genetics Program Laura Shannon is the new head of the potato breeding and genetics program at the University of Minnesota. She plans to rebuild the Minnesota germplasm and breeding pipeline employing computational genetics to speed breeding cycles. Laura is originally from State College, Pennsylvania where she attended the Friends School, partic- ipated in PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture) and engaged in com- munity theater. She graduated from Grinnell College Iowa with Honors in Biology and Anthropology. Those interests stemmed from a first-year seminar with Jon Andelson concerning prairie restoration and rural communities. She split her research time between floral morphology projects and a semester on an organic farm in the mountains of Costa Rica. During a stop on a regular produce delivery, Laura contacted John Doebley about a summer internship at the University of Wisconsin. Later, Doebley served as her PhD advisor; she studied the genetic architecture of maize domestica- tion, developing methods for QTL mapping, and identifying the gene that allowed maize to transition from short-day to day neutral flow- ering and therefore to expand throughout North and South America. In order to learn population genet- ics, Laura moved to the Cornell Veterinary School to work with Adam Boyko. There, she used computation- al genetics to uncover the origin and history of the domestic dog (Central Asia). After three years, she decided she missed plants and joined Jeff Endelman’s potato breeding lab in Madison. In col- laboration with the International Potato Center in Peru, she is work- ing with genotyping data from the Peruvian gene-bank, the largest and most diverse set of potatoes in the world, in order to identify the underlying morphology of genes in Peruvian varieties and to more fully describe potato history and the extent of potato diversity. Laura says, “the rebuilding process is exciting, the Lynx are in first; and I look forward to collaboration with NPPGA growers and hope you’ll be willing to help me shape the breed- ing goals of the Minnesota pro- gram.” Laura Shannon in Peru near ancient Incan agricultural terraces. Highest R-Value Insulation Moisture Barriers Fire Proofing Flat Roofs The Insulation Place 14770 69th Place NE • Grafton, ND 58237 ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ Urethane Spray-On Insulation Eliminates air infiltration & stops condensation Grafton (701) 352-3233 1-800-352-0620 Bismarck (701) 255-0025 1-866-425-0025 Website www.theinsulationplace.com