August 17, 2006
Dr. Charles Simpson, Texas
Agricultural Experiment Station scientist, has received the Coyt
T. Wilson award for his work in peanut breeding.
Simpson is a professor emeritus based at the
Texas A&M University System
Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Stephenville.
The American Peanut Research and Education Society established
the award in 2002 to honor Wilson, one of the world's top peanut
plant pathologists, said Dr. Don Cawthon, resident director of
research at the Stephenville center.
Simpson was given the award because he is the "foremost
individual in the U.S. with respect to collection, evaluation,
and preservation of genetic resources" of the genus of plants
that includes peanuts, Cawthon said.
Simpson is renown in peanut breeding circles for his extensive
germplasm gathering forays in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia,
Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. Since 1977, Simpson and his
teams have collected more than 4,500 cultivated lines and 1,800
wild lines, representing 59 new species, Cawthon said.
In addition, Simpson developed hybrids that allowed molecular
geneticists to produce genetic maps, Cawthon said. These maps
were used to identify genetic markers that allowed plant
breeders to transfer a high level of resistance to root-knot
nematode from wild peanut species to cultivated varieties.
Simpson is the co-developer of 14 peanut cultivars adapted for
use for Southwestern peanut growers. His other peanut lines have
been of "high value" to plant breeders and geneticists
throughout the nation, Cawthon said.
Simpson was also cited for his leadership role in the American
Peanut Research and Education Society.
Simpson, though officially retired, still works full time at the
Stephenville center in a research capacity for essentially no
salary, Cawthon said.
"We have him on the books for four hours a week at minimum wage
so he can (legally) drive a state vehicle when needed and apply
for research grants," he said.