Associate Professor of Biology, Saint Louis University; Research Associate, MBG
• Genetics of domestication
Building a botanical foundation for sustainable agriculture: ethnobotany, morphology, geography, and population genetics of emerging crops. Miller is an associate professor at Saint Louis University (SLU) and a research associate of the Missouri Botanical Garden; her primary research interests include the genetics of domestication. The proposed REU project is part of an exciting, novel collaboration between SLU, MBG, and The Perennial Agriculture Project, in conjunction with the Malone Family Land Preservation Foundation and The Land Institute (Salina, KS), which aims to systematically evaluate wild, perennial herbaceous and shrubby grain, legume, and oilseed species for inclusion in pre-breeding and domestication programs. The long-term goal of this project is to advance sustainable agriculture and ecosystem security through the incorporation of perennial species into large-scale contemporary agriculture. Promising candidates for pre-breeding and domestication will be identified by extracting and analyzing information obtained from available sources (literature, on-line databases, herbaria and living collections), by collecting and planting out a subset of taxa for live-plant analysis at The Land Institute. The REU student will work on one or a small group of closely related grain or legume species and may conduct ethnobotanical analyses from existing literature, generate morphological data from herbarium species, conduct GIS analysis of known distributions of the species, or possibly conduct population genomic analyses of available germplasm. These data will extend a growing database of species with potential for pre-breeding, domestication, and use in perennial polyculture agriculture. Up to two REU student researchers can work with Dr. Miller.