David Ramming whose 15 grape varieties represent half of California's crop

Retired US department of agriculture research scientist David Ramming is being honoured for his outstanding contribution to the department's agriculture research service's work on grapes and stonefruit.

Ramming, who retired in January from the ARS San Joaquin Valley centre is responsible for developing 40 varieties of table grapes, raisin grapes, peaches, apricots and other stonefruits. His 15 varieties of table grapes represent more than half of the table grape production in California.

He also 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. Embryo rescue techniques developed by Ramming also have significantly shortened the time required for development of new table grape and raisin grape cultivars.

He is being inducted into the ARS Science Hall of Fame at the US National Arboretum in Washington DC on 11 September.