“That’s an interesting question that no one really has an answer for. Theories have been floated but no one knows.”

On further agricultural research at the lab…

“We’re continuing with wheat research, having recently completed the sequencing on a couple of other related subspecies. Those include durum wheat and we’re just now working on the computational side of that.

“We want to improve the view of the wheat genome. This is a very valuable first step but it isn’t at the same level of precision as, say, the corn genome.

“We also have an ongoing (collaborative) project to study the evolution of very primitive plants. That has implications for seed development and understanding that process.”

Anything else?

“We put all the data from my lab in a public database. Anyone can access it freely and I’m a big proponent of that. It drives the field ahead for everyone because no one is smart enough to figure everything out.

“Our lab has millions of dollars worth of sequencing instruments. Other labs don’t have that but do have really smart people who can use data we provide to work on something we haven’t thought of.”