Newswise — In January 2017, at the Plant and Animal Genome Conference (PAG) in San Diego, the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) presented Forrest Chumley with a Certificate of Appreciation for his vision and 10 years of dedication to and support of the IWGSC.

Forrest Chumley, a veteran of the agricultural biotechnology industry, spent more than thirsty years in research and business leadership roles with Heartland Plant Innovations, DuPont Company, K-State Research and Extension, and Edenspace Systems Corporation. Chumley is currently a Senior Advisor on science and special projects with Heartland Plant Innovations.

At the award ceremony, IWGSC Executive Director Kellye Eversole said, "to launch an international consortium that will survive beyond the first couple of years requires vision and determination. This is what Forrest Chumley brought to the IWGSC." She went on recalling the early years of Chumley, when he arrived at Kansas State University (KSU) after working for Dupont, and "could not believe that the bread wheat genome was not being sequenced."

Through his persuasiveness at KSU and in discussions with the Kansas Wheat Commission, Chumley secured the funding to hire Kellye Eversole to establish a sequencing consortium and launch a coordinated, international effort to sequence the wheat genome and design a strategic roadmap to ensure that the resulting sequence was of high quality. Eversole was kin to emphasize that "had this not occurred, it is unlikely that the IWGSC would have been able to provide resource after resource and, ultimately, a high quality sequence to the international wheat community."

About the IWGSCThe IWGSC, with more than 1,500 members in 60 countries, is an international, collaborative consortium, established in 2005 by a group of wheat growers, plant scientists, and public and private breeders. The goal of the IWGSC is to make a high quality genome sequence of bread wheat publicly available, in order to lay a foundation for basic research that will enable breeders to develop improved varieties. The IWGSC is a U.S. 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.