The 5th International Conference on Legume Genetics and Genomics (ICLGG) will be held on July 2-8, 2010 in Asilomar (CA). This meeting provides a venue for presenting the most recent advances in legume genomics, genetics and biology and traditionally attracts a diverse group of molecular biologists, breeders, physiologists and pathologists. As such, the meeting provides an excellent opportunity for students and young investigators to meet and interact with scientists in the field, to discuss their research ideas as talks or posters, and to begin to establish the scientific networks that will prove invaluable throughout their careers. The funding provided by NSF will broaden participation by defraying the costs of participation for women and those from underrepresented groups in the U.S. scientific community and those from developing countries.
This award supported participation at the 5th International Conference on Legume Genetics and Genomics of 37 students, postdoctoral researchers and early career scientists from the USA and other countries, including the developing countries Kenya, India, Columbia, Venezuela, and Algeria. Approximately half of those supported were women. Ten of the recipients of NSF support gave talks at the conference. The conference was held in Asilomar, California, from July 2 through July 8, 2010. The meeting bought together 211people from 25 countries to present and discuss recent research results related to legume genomics, genetics, and biology. Oral presentations were made in ten thematic sessions: genomics; genomics to breeding; next generation genomics; pathogens, pests and resistance mechanisms; abiotic stress; symbiosis; gene/genome evolution; seeds; genes and development; and new horizons. Young scientists, including students and postdocs, and members of under-represented groups presented talks in many of the sessions and otherwise presented posters in four thematic areas: genetics and genomics; pathogens, pests and symbionts; development; and abiotic stress. A special feature of the ICLGG conference series is its mission to bring together scientists working on aspects of legume biology in model species, using genetic and genomic tools, with those working on applied aspects and breeding of crop and pasture species. The 5th meeting in Asilomar succeeded in doing this, especially via the sessions on genomics to breeding; pathogens, pests and resistance mechanisms; abiotic stress and tolerance mechanisms; symbiosis; and new horizons. The meeting also succeeded in creating an intimate environment for collegial interaction, where all attendees were active participants. The meeting facilitated and stimulated interactions between senior and junior scientists and brought together legume researchers with diverse scientific and cultural backgrounds. Legumes, such as beans and peas, are second only to grasses, such as rice, corn and wheat, in importance to humans as sources of food, feed for animals and feedstock for industry, including biofuels. Legumes are crucial for sustainable agriculture because of their ability to convert atmospheric nitrogen into N-fertilizer that supports growth of the legumes themselves and subsequent non-legume crops. The technology to sequence whole genomes, which has developed over the last few years, provides a powerful new way to study and understand the genetic basis of plant biology, including legume biology. Genomics is beginning to impact not only fundamental science, but also applied plant science, especially plant breeding, which is crucial to sustain and increase plant yields in the face of climate change and increased demands from a growing world population. The 5th ICLGG played an important role in educating young scientists, introducing them to new ideas and established researchers, and preparing them for leadership roles in legume research and development for agriculture in the future.