Contact Information

Name: John W. Watson, Licensing Associate

Email Address:

Phone Number: 352-273-3656

Location: 1022 McCarty Hall D PO Box 110200, Gainesville, FL 32611-0200

Name: Fong-mei (Sharon) Lu Ph.D., Plant Pre-release Coordinator

Email Address:

Phone Number: 352-273-3474

Location: 1022 McCarty Hall D PO Box 110200, Gainesville, FL 32611-0200

UF/IFAS/FAES Germplasm Management Office

Under the direction of the IFAS Dean for Research and Director of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station (FAES), the Germplasm Office supports IFAS plant breeders in the evaluation and release of new plant cultivars which are developed at UF. The FAES, formed in 1887 by the Hatch Act to complement the Morrill Act in support of the establishment of land-grant universities, has led UF’s ongoing research efforts to provide the knowledge base to sustain and advance agricultural development in Florida, the region, and beyond.

IFAS plant breeders create plant varieties and germplasm with new and superior characteristics. In certain instances, subsequent field evaluations are conducted by industry cooperators under trial agreements to assess traits such as yield, fruit quality, disease resistance, environmental adaptability, and maturity time. A Materials Transfer Agreement (MTA) is the most common trial agreement, and occasionally Collaborative Research Agreements or Sponsored Research Agreements are also used. Our office participates in the development and processing of various trial agreements with the primary responsibility of negotiation and management of MTAs.

When a plant line shows potential to make a significant contribution, the breeder may submit the line for release consideration. Under IFAS policy, plant candidates for release must first be submitted to a departmental Cultivar Release Advisory Committee (CRAC), which conducts a rigorous scientific review of the proposed line. If the CRAC recommends the line for release, it then is submitted for consideration to the IFAS Cultivar Release Committee (CRC), which consists of nine voting members. The CRC submits its recommendation to the FAES Director, who has final responsibility of granting approval for release. The Germplasm office works to ensure proper documentation and reviews are completed before a plant line is presented for release approval. New plant cultivars may be publicly released or assigned to Florida Foundation Seed Producers, Inc. (FFSP), for intellectual property protection and commercialization.

Currently, over twenty IFAS faculty/researchers are actively engaged in breeding in excess of thirty different crops. Departmental CRACs are convened as needed and the IFAS CRC meets quarterly. Over the past ten years, IFAS has released an average of thirty cultivars annually. Our collaboration with public organizations and Florida’s agricultural industries has been strong, manifested by a steadily growing demand in MTAs requests – reaching 100 in 2012. Together, our office works with FFSP, UF’s Office of Technology Licensing (OTL), UF’s Office of General Counsel, and UF’s Division of Sponsored Research (DSR) to promote and facilitate germplasm research and release of new cultivars to aid global food security and better human lives.

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