Derick Jiwan is holding a small clear box…

Derick Jiwan is holding a small, clear box, just big enough to fit a baseball. To capture the attention of those passing by, now and again he announces: “We can grow an apple tree in this box.”

Heads turn, looking for the box, until they realize Jiwan means the small, clear box in his hands. “Really?” is a typical response. Jiwan launches into explanations of photosynthesis, how plants grow and what they need, and next micropropagation. Down the hall in the Harry Potter exhibit, this would pass for magic.

Horticulture Department :: Washington State University :: Life Sciences Research Weekend 2010 :: Photo by Mohini Patel Glanz

Jiwan is in the Genomics Lab of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Washington State University, and he’s joined here today by Chris Hendrickson and Scott Schaeffer also from WSU. Together, they take us on a tour of fruit and medicinal plant genetics.

Horticulture Department :: Washington State University :: Life Sciences Research Weekend 2010 :: Photo by Mohini Patel Glanz

Tissue cultures and stem cells are discussed, and on that note we see tobacco being used for study. Why? because “it grows like a weed” Hendrickson says. Schaeffer teaches us about genes introduced to the local apples we all love eating, to help fight diseases typical for apples in the Pacific Northwest.

Horticulture Department :: Washington State University :: Life Sciences Research Weekend 2010 :: Photo by Mohini Patel Glanz

Magical and practical and delicious — the science of the fruit of the future!

About the Horticulture Department at Washington State University

The Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture is in the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences. Undergraduate degrees are offered in Landscape Architecture, Integrated Plant Sciences, and Agricultural and Food Systems. Graduate degrees are offered in both Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. The WSU Horticulture program was recently ranked number 8 in the nation, with the Plant Sciences program ranked number 2 by a survey in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Read more.

By Brian Glanz for NWABR. Please reuse and remix! We share with a Creative Commons Attribution License.

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