Mark A. Mikel
Department of Crop Sciences
University of Illinois at urbana champaign, USA
His professional career has rich perspective acquired from his background as a plant breeder in the private sector followed by his research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The objective of his research program at Illinois Foundation Seeds Inc. (IFSI) was to breed dent corn inbred lines for branding by domestic and International seed companies. He developed several maize inbreds that established a significant market presence, the most notable being FR1064. FR1064 is a mid-season stiff stalk inbred that was used in dent corn hybrids worldwide by over 100 seed companies. At its peak, the FR1064 hybrids constituted approximately 8% of the total U.S. cornacreage in the late 1990s. Interestingly, one of these hybrids was known among farmers as them ‘white corn hybrid’, resulting from both parents FR1064 and LH185 having a white cob, it is rare to have a white cob commercial dent corn hybrid, thus it was readily phenotypically identifiable across branded hybrids by farmers! It is extremely rewarding to develop germplasm that is widely produced in farmers’ fields. Later in his career at IFSI, he became involved in biotechnology trait efficacy evaluation, acquisition,germplasm conversion, as well as applications of molecular markers in plant breeding. At IFSI he was able to setup and manage a productive breeding program. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), he acquired additional knowledge in applications of genomics to support and enhance his plant breeding endeavors. His research as Associate Director of the Biotechnology Center has been enlightening for me, and he enjoyed being in the midst of numerous enabling genomic technologies that are rapidly emerging and evolving. I primarily oversee the personnel, major projects, and instrumentation of our seven core research labs. His adjunct appointment in the department of Crop Sciences at UIUC provides opportunities for collaboration with faculty.
Applied Horticulture, Plant Breeding, Genetics, Genomics, Seed Certification, Molecular Markers