Dr Dan Sargent
My research interests are broad and although I am a molecular geneticist by training, I have expanded my research into several areas related to genetics and breeding and I follow closely new scientific developments in a wide range of disciplines. However, my main motivation revolves around the concept that most economically important traits in crops, from yield and fecundity, nutrient and sugar content, to draught tolerance and disease resistance, are quantitative in nature which makes it difficult for any knowledge obtained on the molecular level to be easily translated into tangible gains in agriculture. This creates a considerable gap between academic science and the agricultural industry.
My research to date has thus focussed on providing a greater understanding of the genetic basis of complex polygenic traits in food crops, and, crucially, ways to harness this knowledge for sustainable food production and increased profitability. As such my efforts have in recent years been focused on genome-wide associations and in particular, using a genomic selection approach as a potentially revolutionary technology to bridge the existing gaps between academic understanding and agricultural application.