Agriculture lab looks at breeding better plants
Fruit Experiment Station gains funding from U.S. Department of Agriculture
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — If you don’t like the weather in Missouri, just wait a few hours. But this unpredictable natural phenomenon makes growing certain plants, fruits, vegetables and herbs a challenge.
Enter Dr. Chin-Feng Hwang, professor in the Darr School of Agriculture at Missouri State University, who recently received $297,584 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture for a research project to look at how to breed more disease-resistant, cold-hardy grapes.
“The overall goals of our research program are to use DNA markers to rapidly deploy favorable alleles, accelerate breeding cycles for new cultivar release, train a new generation of plant breeders and attract new students to the agricultural sciences,” said Hwang. As an agricultural scientist, he’s also concerned about the sustainability of grape breeding, including decreasing labor needs, energy consumption and pesticides, noted Hwang.
The project, “Expanding Research on Berry and Juice Chromatographic Analysis to Expedite Grape Cultivar Improvement and Build Education Capacity,” will also look at ways to improve the efficiency of the breeding process.
Students in Hwang’s lab at the Fruit Experiment Station on the Mountain Grove campus will use the latest technology to perform much of the research and identify components of the molecular structure that are associated with desirable and undesirable fruit quality traits.
“This project will accelerate the direct release of Norton-based new cultivars and improve efficiency of selection in subsequent generations,” he said.
This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2016-70001-24623.
“Hot Topic – Expert Source” releases are a tool the office of university communications provides to assist media in locating a university source to comment on a particular subject or issue. The opinions expressed by the expert are those of a specific individual and are not necessarily representative of the views of the university.