A Madison botanist has been honored by the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for his work on the evolution of potatoes.
David Spooner was named "Area Senior Research Scientist of 2008" by the ARS in ceremonies Tuesday at the USDA headquarters in Beltsville, Madison.
Spooner is a research scientist at the ARS Vegetable Crops Research Unit in Madison.
Spooner discovered that cultivated potatoes originally came from a single region of southern Peru, and his research revised and rewrote the history of the potato's spread from South America throughout the world.
"Dr. Spooner has made outstanding contributions to the scientific community's understanding of the genetic diversity and evolution of potatoes and their relatives," said ARS Administrator Edward Knipling in prepared comments for the award ceremony.