Skip to the content

Kansas State University

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
  1. K-State Home >
  2. News Services >
  3. October news releases
Print This Article  

Source: Loretta Johnson 785-532-6921,
News release prepared by: Stephanie Jacques, 785-532-0101,

Friday, Oct. 9, 2009


MANHATTAN -- The Ecological Genomics Institute at Kansas State University is now accepting registrations for the seventh annual Ecological Genomics Symposium, Nov. 13-15, at the Muehlebach/Marriott Hotel in downtown Kansas City, Mo.

The symposium, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and K-State's Targeted Excellence program, will feature a wide variety of speakers from across the United States. The plenary speaker is Jonathan F. Wendel, a professor at Iowa State University who researches gene expression during cotton fiber development and evolution. He will speak about how polyploidy affects gene expression in cotton.

"Wendel is a renowned expert on the genetic changes that take place when the genomes of two closely related cotton species merge," said Loretta Johnson, co-organizer of the symposium and co-director of the Ecological Genomics Institute. "His work provides insights into the genetic architecture underlying the evolution of morphology, as well as the potential evolutionary significance of genome doubling."

Wendel's research on polyploids of cotton can serve as a model for other scientists to understand the important changes that take place as genomes double. Polyploid plants make up some of the world's most important crops such as wheat, potatoes, strawberries and even forage grasses such as big bluestem. They are larger and more vigorous than their diploid relatives, and often have higher yields.

"In its seventh year, the symposium has built a reputation for excellence toward advancing the new field of ecological genomics," Johnson said. "Nationally and internationally renowned scientists have presented their innovative research and greatly expanded the knowledge base of attendees. Once considered a regional Midwest conference, it has quickly grown to national prominence."

In 2008, the more than 120 symposium registrants came from 22 states, 41 universities and four countries.

Additional speakers include Andres Aguilar, University of California; May R. Berenbaum, University of Illinois; Jeffrey L. Feder, University of Notre Dame; David C. Queller, Rice University; Matthew Rockman, New York University; Erica Bree Rosenblum, University of Idaho; Jay F. Storz, University of Nebraska; Chris Toomajian, K-State; and Michael J. Wade, Indiana University. Events at the symposium will also include a poster session and an optional Saturday night banquet.

Prior to Oct. 13, registration cost is $225 for professionals and $150 for graduate and undergraduate students. After Oct. 13, the cost of registration increases to $300 and $200 respectively. Registration fee includes breakfast and lunch on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday. The optional Saturday night banquet is an additional $50. A limited number of student fellowships also are available.

The Ecological Genomics Institute is comprised of 25 K-State faculty members from various disciplines all working together to combine genomic tools and ecological approaches to determine the functional significance of genes, genomes and their evolutionary and ecological context.

More information on the symposium is available online at or by contacting the Ecological Genomics Institute at 1-800-432-8222 or 785-532-5569 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.