Agricultural society honors UW scientist for research efforts

Sadanand Dhekney at the Sheridan Research and Extension Center modifies and uses existing DNA sequences in grape plants to obtain desirable characteristics. Nothing new is added.

A scientist at the Sheridan Research and Extension Center who uses precision breeding to improve grape varieties and vineyard management has been recognized by the national honor society of agriculture.

Sadanand Dhekney received a Faculty Award of Merit from the Wyoming chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta during the organization’s award ceremony in April at the Laramie campus of the University of Wyoming.

Dhekney is an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and also teaches at Sheridan College. He uses techniques in breeding and biotechnology, along with improved management practices, for expanding grapevine production in Wyoming.

Old technology inserts transgenic DNA sequences into plants to modify crops, such as making them herbicide-resistant.

“The next generation has nothing to do with inserting transgenes in plants,” said Dhekney, who has had six researchers from other countries request to work in his laboratory and learn the techniques. “The existing DNA sequences from plants and their wild relatives are modified and utilized. Nothing new is added.”

The Sheridan center is part of the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station based in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Dhekney joined UW in 2012.