Lamar Dodd Award 2014
Jeffrey Bennetzen, Norman and Doris Giles Professor and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, has established an outstanding national and international reputation as a leader in plant genetics and genomics. He was the first to isolate and sequence a plant transposable element, which is a kind of DNA sequence that can change positions within the genome to create or reverse mutations. His lab also produced the first genetic map of sorghum, an important grain and biofuel crop. In addition, his research group was first to identify the natures and rates of chromosome instability in plants. His broad research interests include the role of gene families in the evolution of plant traits such as disease resistance; genetic diversity in crop plants and their wild relatives; biomass improvement for bioenergy; and the analysis of under-utilized crops that are of key importance for subsistence farming. Bennetzen has authored or co-authored more than 180 publications in top journals, and he is an elected fellow of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.