Dr. David Ramming was recently named to the USDA-ARS Science Hall of Fame. Ramming retired in January 2013 from the ARS San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center at Parlier, California.
Ramming is responsible for developing 40 varieties of table grapes, raisin grapes, peaches, apricots and other stone fruits, and has been instrumental in developing technologies that address a number of grower concerns. According to USDA statistics, his 15 varieties of table grapes represent more than half of today's table grape production in California.
A part of Ramming's critical work for the grape industry was creating "mapping populations" several of which are still being used in our NGWI-supported VitisGen work. Establishing a mapping population is the first step in being able to associate genetic markers with desired traits (such as powdery mildew disease resistance). Genetic markers can be used in breeding to identify or select seedlings that will retain desired traits.
Also during his time as a scientist with the Agricultural Research Service he led research that resulted in a plant regeneration system that allows for the routine insertion of genes into grapes, speeding up the process for developing improved varieties. He developed an embryo rescue technique which has significantly shortened the time required for development of new table grape and raisin grape cultivars.