Dr. Ricardo M. Lantican ‘51 will be the newest name in the roster of the Order of National Scientists (Order ng mga Pambansang Alagad ng Agham). Dr. Lantican was nominated by the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) to receive the rank and title of National Scientist, the highest possible honor that can be bestowed upon a distinguished individual scientist, and is conferred by the President of the Philippines. He was elected into the NAST in 1988 for his research on cytoplasmic inheritance of hypersensitivity to a disease in maize, a discovery that has created an awareness among biologists of the importance of genetic diversity as a weapon against environmental adversities.
A former dean of the College of Agriculture in UP Los Banos, Dr. Lantican received his B.S. Agriculture degree from the University of the Philippines in 1954, M.S. Plant Breeding from the North Carolina State College in 1956 and Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Genetics from the Iowa State University in 1961.
His efforts in plant breeding, more specifically in the development of varietal resistance and the improvement of plant structure and morphology, have paved the way for the release of outstanding varieties. These varieties are now being commercially grown by farmers in the Philippines, parts of Southeast Asia, East Asia and South Asia. The new plant structure developed in mungbean through his effort and that of his team has resulted in doubling of yields. The plant types evolved in the Philippines were heavily used as parents in the breeding program of the Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center (AVRDC) in Taiwan.
Dr. Lantican joins three other Upsilonians in the Order of National Scientists namely Jose Encarnacion Jr. (economics), Bienvenido O. Juliano (organic chemistry) and Onofre D. Corpuz (political economy and government).