Science - October 7, 2004

Science seeks ideas at Plant

Wageningen has some great plant scientists according to the American editor for plant sciences at Science magazine, Pamela Hines. She visited Wageningen last Tuesday, to find out about current developments in the plant sciences.

Hines was on a tour of various European institutes this week. In Wageningen she stopped by the graduate school for Experimental Plant Sciences. She was especially interested to hear which subjects the researchers would like to see in the top science journal. She also explained to the scientists how Science works, and told them that they should not hesitate to send in articles, even if they have not seen the subject covered before in the magazine.

According to Hines, Wageningen is high on the citations list for excellent researchers, and she added that China is also a rising star. ‘They are putting a lot into agricultural research. But others are perhaps achieving more with less,’ she added.

A reason for the decline in interest in the plant sciences in Europe might be the fear of genetically modified crops, Hines suggested. But that trend can be reversed through the excellent research that is being done on subjects that people can easily recognise as being useful, such as tastier and healthier tomatoes, and by paying attention to informing the public better.

On a personal note, Hines was pleased with her visit. ‘I have finally been able to meet Ton Bisseling, one of our advisors, in person.’ Professor Ton Bisseling is chair of Molecular Biology, specialising in the development biology of plants. / YdH

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