USDA Plant Geneticist Honored by Research
Agency By Linda
February 7, 2001
MADISON, Wis., Feb. 7Philipp W. Simon, a research
plant geneticist with USDAs
Agricultural Research Service here, has
been named an Area Senior Research Scientist of the Year by the
agency for improving the nutritional value of carrots.
Dr. Simons work provides a significant contribution
to world health by increasing high carotene in carrots and selecting for better
agronomic traits leading to the ability to grow carrots in developing
countries, where 250 million children in the world suffer from vitamin A
deficiency, said ARS Administrator Floyd P. Horn.
Simon is internationally known for his research on the genetics
and improvement of carrot, onion, garlic, and cucumber. His research improved
carrot flavor for the baby or cut and peel carrot market, which accounts for
about 30 percent of the current U.S. fresh carrot market.
He has also improved breeding methods for garlic, having
developed the first true seed production system for garlic in the United States
and transferred this technology to the garlic industry. Global garlic
production exceeds 3 million tons with a U.S. value of $50 million to growers.
In 1999, Simon organized and participated in a scientific
germplasm collection expedition with another researcher to five European and
Middle Eastern countries. High carotene carrot germplasm released by Simon has
stimulated interest in developing new carrot production as a source of
extractable carotenoids for food supplements. Simon identified several
important carrot quality genes and 100 plus molecular markers to create a
low-density carrot linkage map. This map establishes the foundation for
selecting simple and complex genetic traits and for investigating the use of
marker-assisted selection in practical breeding programs.
Simon was the winner for the agencys Midwest Area, which
includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and
Wisconsin. He is the research leader for the
Vegetable Crops Research Unit
and is associated with the Horticulture Department at the University of
Simon and other ARS researchers were recognized in a ceremony
today at the agencys Henry A. Wallace
Beltsville (Md.) Agricultural Research Center. Each senior research
scientist will receive a plaque, a cash award of $3,000, and $15,000 research
A Wisconsin native, Simon received a bachelors degree in
biology from Carroll College in Waukesha, a masters and Ph.D. degrees in
genetics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He joined ARS in 1978 and
became a research leader in 1984.
Germplasm evaluation trials for potatoes, cucumber, carrot,
garlic, and onion have been expanded, resulting in four to six technology
transfer meetings each year. These events are attended by several hundred
vegetable growers and seed industry representatives. Under Simons
direction, the Vegetable Crops
Research Unit hosts international carrot meetings and conferences that have
broadened the units international reputation.
Simon has previously won a USDA certificate of merit for
superior performance and has been a three-time winner of a certificate of merit
for outstanding performance.
Scientific contact: Philipp W. Simon, ARS
Vegetable Crops Research Unit,
Madison, Wis., phone (608) 264-1248, fax (608) 262-4743, email