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Bearing Fruit—Even Tomatoes: MHC's Strategic Plan Yields Success

Civilization Begins with a Rose—and a Plan

Botanic Garden as Metaphor

Leadership and the Liberal Arts: The Weissman Center for Leadership

Speaking Up for Speaking, Arguing, and Writing

January Term Internships: From Monkeys to Marketing

Maps, Memories, and More with the Click of a Mouse

Sharing Meals and More in the Kosher/Halal Dining Room

Putting Tomatoes on the (Genetic) Map

Mount Holyoke Enjoys Banner Years for Applications

High-Tech Room Lets Musicians Play in Virtually Any Venue

Tallying Up the Success of the Plan

Indika Senanayake '03: Transformation Through Performance

A Work of Art on Many Levels: Mount Holyoke, the Mountain

"Greening" Mount Holyoke's Curriculum

Geologist Elizabeth "Betty" Wilson '72 Brings Energy to J-Term

Hannah Kolak '03: Her Worlds Collided

Getting Concrete about Environmental Stewardship

Everything on Track with Langhan Dee '04

Athletics Scoreboard

On the Mount Holyoke Campaign Trail

Five College Center Brings People Together Through Language

Reaping the Rewards of The Plan for Mount Holyoke 2003

Mount Holyoke College News and Events College Street Journal Vista


Plan goal: Support excellence and innovation in the sciences and strengthen linkages among those fields and with others in the curriculum

It's not often that you hear terms like "quantitative trait locus," and "clones" uttered in the same breath as "leaf shape" and "root rot"--unless, that is, you're talking about tomatoes with Amy Frary '90, assistant professor of biological sciences and a plant biologist. Then again, it's rare that the public hears many conversations about genetics that focus on anything other than humans, cows, or sheep.

This is the case despite the finding that the chemical structure of the DNA of people, animals, and plants is identical, and the fact that the sequencing and mapping of complete sets of plant genes is enabling researchers to investigate the molecular basis of everything from plant disease resistance to drought tolerance. Among the benefits of such research could be increased crop productivity and quality, which could have a major impact on the world's food supply.

Since she was a graduate student at Cornell University, Frary has focused her research on examining molecular markers to map the specific genes that control traits that exhibit subtle and complex variation (such as leaf shape) in plants. Frary has long had a personal interest in both genetics and plants, and after getting to know her personal history, questions of nature and nurture come to the fore. Frary's identical twin sister, Anne, is also a Mount Holyoke alumna, and both sisters focused on plant science and earned undergraduate degrees in biological sciences. The two went on to earn Ph.D.s from Cornell in plant breeding and genetics.

The scientist returned to Mount Holyoke "because of the quality of the students and the opportunity to teach," says Frary, whose courses focus on the structure, function, development, and evolution of plants. She did bring a little bit of her graduate school world to the College, however, as the population of plants that she and her students study at Mount Holyoke is a clone of plants used at Cornell, a leader in the field of plant genetics.

Having recently moved into a new office on the top floor of the renovated Carr Laboratory, Frary--along with her office collection of about twenty-five plants--is now an occupant of what is becoming known as the "chemistry/ molecular biology zone," at home among biologists who work at the molecular level and chemists who work at the biological level.

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Copyright © 2003 Mount Holyoke College. This page created by Don St. John and maintained by Office of Communications. Last modified on August 5, 2003.

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