Wheat Marker Assisted Selection Project Leader & Wheat Breeder Assistant – Aurélie Décultot
We might have already met a couple of years ago in Walla Walla, WA. I started as an intern for Limagrain in charge of a drought resistance study in the Pacific Northwest Wheat Region. That was my first experience with LCS team in the United States and the beginning of my intense interest in wheat breeding. I headed back to France to complete my degree in Genetics and Plant Breeding. Then wheat breeding and quantitative genetics guided my path to work with the Limagrain Europe team on a genomic selection project last year.
As Agriculture has been part of my life from the earliest years, it was blatantly obvious to continue my way toward breeding tomorrow’s varieties with the newest technologies.
Today, I am back with the LCS research team as a Wheat Marker Assisted Selection (MAS) Project Leader. From November to March, I was based at the breeding station in Wichita, KS where I learned about Central Plains Wheat breeding and the industry with the Hard Red Winter Wheat (HRWW) breeder, Dr. Marla Barnett. Now, I am located at the Soft Red Winter Wheat (SRWW) breeding station in Lafayette, IN.
As a MAS project leader, I work closely with the three LCS breeding programs across the country to manage and improve the MAS operation. One of the major aims is to enhance Genomic Selection models and their utilization. By combining marker data with phenotypic and pedigree data, this approach allows us to predict the genetic potential of a wheat variety in different types of environments. Its implementations at different stages in the breeding process help drive better breeding decisions. Hence higher yielding, disease-resistant, adapted and stable wheat varieties are developed at a faster rate.
I also act as a wheat breeder assistant for the SRWW program activities- performing crosses, taking notes in the nurseries, harvesting (coming soon!) … During this time of the year in Lafayette, my everyday job is split between data analysis and field work.