J. Neil Rutger

rutgerHonored for his research on induced mutations in rice genetics, Rutger was very successful in developing high-yielding, semi-dwarf rice cultivars and valuable germplasm lines.  In his research, he developed methods of asexual seed production in rice (apomixis) and searched for transposable genetics elements to use as “tags” for cloning genes whose primary products were unknown.  This latter research goal represented a necessary step to applying then-emerging molecular techniques to rice improvement.  Eventually serving as the USDA agricultural research leader stationed at Davis, Rutger’s independent work and collaborations with other university scientists led to valuable insights into the inheritance of genetic and cytoplasmic male sterility, cold tolerance, and the interspecific transfer of disease resistance.