We are a breeding, genetics, and conservation research program in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics at the University of Minnesota led by Dr. Jennifer Kimball. Our work centers on wild rice (Zizania palustris) as a cultivated crop as well as a natural resource in the state of Minnesota.
Our research program focuses on 1) investigating the genetic and physiological bases of quantitative traits in wild rice and 2) evaluating and monitoring the genetic diversity and changing environment of natural stands of wild rice in Minnesota to ensure their protection and preservation.
Our breeding program aims to improve the sustainability and growth of the Minnesota cultivated wild rice industry and its growers through the development of new and improved varieties. We are currently focused on improving shattering tolerance as well as disease resistance.
Did you know?
Wild Rice is the official state grain of Minnesota!
Read more about how Wild Rice changed Minnesota in Mary Meyer and Susan David Price's book 'Ten Plants that changed Minnesota'!
"In 2012 a committee of experts chose the ten plants that most changed Minnesota from nearly five hundred citizen nominations, hosted by the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. The idea that plants, as few as ten, could shape a state and how it developed economically, culturally, and historically, is at the core of the Ten Plants that Changed Minnesota project, which also includes a companion website and a popular freshman seminar at the University of Minnesota. With careful review by more than thirty experts and scientists and with research drawn from newspaper and journal reports, historical photos, diaries, and interviews, Mary Hockenberry Meyer and Susan Davis Price highlight the importance of the selected plants and their impact—both positive and negative—in the development and future of our state. The plants are the apple, alfalfa, the American elm, corn, lawn or turfgrass, purple loosestrife, soybeans, wheat, wild rice, and white pine."