Dr. Peggy Ozias-Akins receives 2015 Creative Research Medal

By James Hattaway 

2015 Creative Research Medals

These medals are awarded for outstanding research or creative activity within the past five years that focuses on a single theme identified with the University of Georgia.

Peggy Ozias-Akins, a professor of horticulture in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, is recognized widely as a world expert on apomixis, the asexual production of seeds in plants. While this phenomenon is rare, seeds produced by apomictic plants germinate into plants that are exact genetic copies of the parent.

For agriculture, the incorporation of apomixis means the possibility of using hybrid seeds without having to cross two different parents each time. Ozias-Akins was among the first to localize apomixis to a chromosomal region, and later she found the first plant gene associated with apomixis. Her research lays the foundation to start research into systematic application of apomixis in plant breeding. Harnessing this form of asexual seed formation could lead to major improvements in yield and economize the delivery of new plant varieties, which could have enormous impact on agriculture in both advanced and developing nations.