Plant Breeding

Plant Breeding is the genetic improvement of crop plants through the study and application of genetics, statistics, agronomy, plant pathology, entomology, and related sciences.

CAREERS:
Management and operation of public and private plant breeding programs ~ Research on plant breeding methodologies, bio-technologies, and information technologies to improve breeding efficiency and effectiveness ~ Cultivar development

PROJECTS:
Germplasm evaluation and enhancement ~ Selection ~ Cultivar development ~ Quantitative genetics ~ Linkage mapping and marker-assisted selection ~ Biotechnology ~ Molecular genetics ~ Computational biology ~ Prediction and optimization

CROPS:
Maize ~ Soybean ~ Sorghum ~ Sunflower ~ other crops. Research on other crops is done in conjunction with the North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station.

PERSONNEL:

  • Faculty: State, USDA-ARS
    A large number of faculty with diverse expertise are listed at the bottom of this webpage. Faculty who conduct field-oriented plant breeding programs, teach plant breeding courses, and mentor plant breeding students are part of the Raymond F. Baker Center for Plant Breeding.
  • Graduate students: Plant Breeding majors (~35) - Interdepartmental majors (~20) - Distance MS students (~50)
  • Staff: About 25 clerical and technical staff members.
  • Visiting scientists and postdocs: About 10 at any given time.

PROGRAM OF STUDY (POS):
The program of study is determined by the student, major professor, Director of Graduate Education (DOGE), Program of Study Committee, Graduate College, and academic units to accommodate the unique features of each student's program. Please refer to the Graduate College for current information. Information on individual courses can be found in the University Course Catalog.
Graduate College: http://www.grad-college.iastate.edu/
University Catalog: http://catalog.iastate.edu

Although no courses are actually mandatory, virtually all plant breeding students take those listed below.

  • For Master of Science
    • Agron 521 (3 cr) Principles of Cultivar Development
    • Agron 522 (2 cr) Field Methods in Plant Breeding
    • Agron 523 (3 cr) Molecular Plant Breeding
    • Agron 524 (3 cr) Applied Molecular Genetics & Biotechnology
    • Agron 528 (3 cr) Introduction to Quantitative Genetics for Plant Breeding
    • Agron 600A (1 cr) Plant Breeding Seminar
    • Agron 698 (2 cr) Agronomy Teaching Practicum
    • Agron 699 (variable cr) Research-related activities each semester
    • Agron/AnSci 561 (4 cr) Population and Quantitative Genetics for Breeding
    • Gen 510 (3 cr) Transmission Genetics
    • Stat 401 (4 cr) Statistical Methods for Research Workers
    • Stat 402 (3 cr) Statistical Design and the Analysis of Experiments / Agron 526 (3 cr) Field Plot Technique
  • Distance Master of Science in Plant Breeding:
  • Additional courses for Ph.D.
    • Agron 621 (3 cr)-Advanced Plant Breeding
    • Agron 625 (3 cr)-Genetic Strategies in Plant Breeding

Ph.D. students must pass uniform written and oral preliminary examinations usually taken during the first two years of their program. Exams are based on the courses listed under the Master of Science section above.

More information on the uniform written examination: Uniform Written Exam

FUNDING:
Most students receive a research assistantship from their major professor. Fellowships are available from the Raymond F. Baker Center for Plant Breeding , the Agronomy Department, and the University. Application information is available from each student's major professor.

Faculty in Plant Breeding
Click on Faculty Names for additional contact information.

Dr. J. Barb
Sunflower Breeding and Genetics
jbarb@iastate.edu

Dr. W.D. Beavis
Prediction and Optimization
wdbeavis@iastate.edu

Dr. P.W. Becraft
becraft@iastate.edu

Dr. M. Blanco
Germplasm Enhancement of Maize
mblanco@iastate.edu

Dr. M.K. Bhattacharyya
Soybean Molecular Genetics
mbhattac@iastate.edu

Dr. S. Cannon
scannon@iastate.edu

Dr. S.R. Cianzio
Soybean Breeding
scianzio@iastate.edu

Dr. Jode Edwards
Quantitative Genetics and Maize Breeding

Dr. W.R. Fehr
Soybean Breeding
wfehr@iastate.edu

Dr. C. Gardner
Plant Germplasm Conservation, Management, and Utilization
gardnerc@iastate.edu

Dr. M. Graham
magraham@iastate.edu

Dr. D.M. Grant
dgrant@iastate.edu

Dr. K.R. Lamkey
krlamkey@iastate.edu

Dr. T.L. Lübberstedt
Plant Breeding & Genetics
thomasl@iastate.edu

Dr. C. Lawrence
Plant Genetics
triffid@iastate.edu

Dr. M. Lee
Plant Breeding and Genetics
mlee@iastate.edu

Dr. R.G. Palmer
Soybean Genetics
rpalmer@iastate.edu

Dr. T.A. Peterson
thomaspx@iastate.edu

Dr. M.G. Salas Fernandez
Sorghum Breeding
mgsalas@iastate.edu

Dr. P.S. Schnable
Plant Molecular Genetics
schnable@iastate.edu

Dr. M.P. Scott
Maize grain quality
pscott@iastate.edu

Dr. R.C. Shoemaker
Soybean genomics and gene discovery
rcsshoe@iastate.edu

Dr. Asheesh Singh
Soybean Breeding and Genetics
singhak@iastate.edu

Dr. Arti Singh
Soybean Disease Resistance Breeding
arti@iastate.edu

Dr. Kan Wang
Plant Genetics and Molecular Biology
kanwang@iastate.edu

Dr. M.P. Widrlechner
Plant germplasm conservation
nc7mw@sol.ars.grin.gov

Dr. J. Yu
Quantitative Genetics and Maize Breeding
jmyu@iastate.edu