Hon-Ming Lam: The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
As a plant molecular and genomic biologist who has worked on soybean research for more than two decades, Prof. Lam aspires to synergise state-of-the-art technologies from academia and traditional wisdom from breeders to achieve agricultural sustainability.
Lam’s team was the first to sequence wild and cultivated soybean genomes in 2010, revealing a much higher genetic biodiversity in wild soybean and confirmed that they are a valuable genetic resource for crop improvement. In 2019, Lam’s team published the world’s first high-quality reference genome of wild soybean, facilitating the mining of the genetic resources encapsulated in wild soybean.
Besides the announcement of soybean genomes, Lam’s team has successfully mapped several major quantitative trait loci with whole genome sequencing for important agronomic traits, including salt tolerance with a causal gene cloned in 2014. With marker-assisted selection for the salt tolerance gene and field performance selection for drought tolerance, Lam’s team has successfully developed approved stress-tolerant soybean cultivars and distributed them to farmers.
In addition, his team also completed the genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic analysis of two Sinorhizobia fredii strains and identified the secretory protein that is responsible for determining host specificity of S. fredii. Recent research in his laboratory showed that the symbiotic nitrogen fixation process between soybean and Rhizobia is under epigenic control.