FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - Five Fayetteville State University (FSU) students from the Biological and Forensic Sciences department published an article in the international peer-review journal of Plants in November 2023.
Undergraduate students Shirley Jacquet, Layla Rashad, Sonia Viera, Francisco Reta, and Juan Reta with their mentors and collaborators coauthored, Evaluating the Response of Glycine soja Accessions to Fungal Pathogen Macrophomina phaseolina during Seedling Growth. Plants is an open access, multidisciplinary journal with a high impact factor rating of 4.5 that covers all key areas of plant science.
Jacquet, a senior forensic science student, played a vital role in the research and placed as first author. “Her research and development of soybeans on the resistance of wild soybean accessions to charcoal rot using plants at the early seedling stage is novel and offers an alternative way to rapidly identify potential resistant soybean lines and facilitate breeding for soybean resistance to charcoal rot,” said Jiazheng Yuan, Ph.D., associate professor and assistant chair in the Department of Biological and Forensic Sciences.
Charcoal rot caused by the fungal pathogen M. phaseolina (Tassi) Goid is one of the devastating soybean diseases, which can severely reduce crop yield. Soybean is one of the most valuable crops in the United States. It’s a significant crop in North Carolina with over 1.6 million acres planted annually and production is worth $800 million to growers in the state.
The wild soybean, Glycine soja, is the wild ancestor of the cultivated soybean, and it is a valuable source for plant researchers because it contains a wide range of genetic diversity for the trait improvement such as resistance to pests, diseases, and environmental stresses. Identifying charcoal rot-resistant lines from wild soybean accessions not only addresses the urgent needs of disease controlling but also provides a better solution for ongoing attempts in crop improvement and sustainable agriculture.
Jacquet’s research is mainly supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) grant. It is also the achievement of a successful collaboration with Abdelmajid Kassem, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Biological and Forensic Sciences, as well as several institutes and funding agents across the nation including FSU’s S4 program, Ronald McNair Scholars program, and USDA-ARS, which all aim at delivering an excellence in scientific research and education at FSU.
“Participating in research at an institution like FSU can indeed contribute positively to an individual's skill and career development,” stated Danielle Graham, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Department of Biological and Forensic Sciences. “We strongly encourage our students to engage in research with faculty mentors because it provides opportunities for them to obtain hands-on experience and develop various skills, such as data collection and project management. Actively participating in research projects leads to conference presentation and publications, and thereby improves our students’ academic and professional profiles.”
Jacquet is also an adult learner with three children and an Army veteran of more than eight years of military service. She is a McNair scholar who plans to continue her education after graduating from FSU and attend a graduate school for a doctorate in forensic/genetic anthropology.