Detlef Weigel, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Germany Title: A mutation is a mutation is a mutation Speaking: Thursday 24 June Keynote Sponsored by
Detlef Weigel will speak about his natural genetic variation work & about how the science community has been engaging with governments to ensure that Europe can benefit from genetic variation that occurs naturally & that induced by genome editing.
Abstract Genetic and genomic variation has been the focus of my lab for over two decades, and we have been interested in the rate and spectrum of spontaneous mutations as well as their fate in the face of selection. Inadvertently, this has embroiled us in controversies surrounding targeted mutations created by genome editing, often called “new breeding techniques” or NBTs. For example, we published a paper in 2011 on Illumina short read-based detection of genetic variation, where we focused on indels of up to 20 bp in wild strains of Arabidopsis thaliana. Of course, the genomes of different strains from the same species generally have many differences that are much larger than 20 bp. We even reported on such larger indels, also called structural variants or SVs, but because we had less confidence in calling these due to limitations of the technology at the time, such larger variants did not play a large role in further analyses in that paper. However, the number of 20 bp ended up in a scientific assessment of the maximum size of genome edits that should be acceptable as being equivalent to natural mutations, the argument being that mutations of up to 20 bp could not be distinguished from natural variants. Conversely, a very recent finding from the lab about the non-randomness of spontaneous mutations has been used by opponents of NBTs to argue for genome edits being unnatural and therefore dangerous.
In my lecture, I will discuss what we and others have learned about variation in plant genomes, and how these insights can be useful when discussing genome editing and NBTs with various stakeholders.
Joanne Chory, Salk Institute, USA Title: Fighting Climate Change with Plants: Arabidopsis takes center stage Speaking: Monday 21 June
Joanne Chory will speak about the Harnessing Plants Initiative (HPI) she is leading, an innovative, scalable and bold approach to fight climate change by optimizing a plant’s natural ability to capture and store carbon and adapt to diverse climate conditions.
Abstract The world is facing a global sustainability crisis. The population stands today at >7.5B and is expected to increase to 11B by 2100. The increasing demand for food, fuel, land, and other natural resources is creating consequences that exceed the planet’s capacity to absorb change and maintain stability. At the current pace of change, human life as we know it may not be sustainable on earth in a little over 100 years. Feeling the urgent need to be a part of the solution, Salk Institute plant scientists have developed a plan to bend the upward trending curve back down to a range where the planet’s natural systems of maintaining balance can cope. The idea is to improve plants’ natural ability to capture and store carbon stably in the ground. I will tell you about our plans to alter 3 traits in plant roots that we hope will allow us to draw down atmospheric CO2 at a global level in 10-15 years.
Recent advances in mechanistic plant biology, genomics, and precision agriculture/breeding suggest that this goal is within our reach. By improving plants’ natural ability to deposit carbon in the soil in a form that does not easily decompose, we can sequester enough CO2 to make a significant contribution to the global effort being pursued on many fronts to become carbon neutral or net negative.
Monday 21 June 7 - 8 am Pacific Time Keynote Seminar JOANNE CHORY, SALK INSTITUTE, USA
Plenary #1: 8:30 - 9:30 am Pacific Time Post-transcriptional Mechanisms of Gene Regulation Hongwei Guo, Southern China University of Science and Technology, China Steven Spoel, University of Edinburgh, UK
Plenary #2: 9:45- 11:45 am Pacific Time Systems Approaches to Understanding and Engineering Plant Biology Nicola Patron, Earlham Institute, UK Naomi Nakayama, Imperial College London, UK David Savage, UC Berkeley, USA Elizabeth Sattely, Stanford University, USA
Tuesday 22 June Plenary #3: 7 - 8:30 am Pacific Time Intercellular Communication Ji-Young Lee, Seoul National University, South Korea Sota Fujii, University of Tokyo and NAIST, Japan Tessa Burch-Smith, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA
Plenary #4: 8:45- 10:15 am Pacific Time Plasticity of Plant Development In Response to the Environment Yuling Jiao, IGDB- CAS, China Miltos Tsiantis, Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Germany Kathleen Donohue, Duke University, USA
Wednesday 23 June Plenary #5: 7 - 8:30 am Pacific Time New Frontiers in Plant-Biotic Interactions Sponsored by The Plant Cell Ken Shirasu, RIKEN, Japan Xin-Li, University of British Columbia, Canada Noah Whiteman, UC Berkeley, USA
Plenary #6: 8:45- 10:15 am Pacific Time Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Cell Differentiation and Intracellular Signaling Katie Dehesh, UC Riverside, USA Roger Deal, Emory University, USA Mary Gehring, MIT-Whitehead, USA
Thursday 24 June 8:30- 9:30 am Pacific Time Keynote Seminar DETLEF WEIGEL, MAX PLANCK INSTITUTE FOR DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY, GERMANY Sponsored by RIKEN BRC and CSRS
Plenary #7: 10- 11:30 am Pacific Time Translating Research Into Impact Peter van Esse, The Sainsbury Laboratory, UK Pam Ronald, UC Davis, USA Vi Shukla, Gates Foundation, USA