Francis, Sneller each receive $500,000 USDA grants

Two Department of Horticulture and Crop Science faculty members, David Francis and Clay Sneller, each have received $500,000 grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The grants were part of the FY 2014 AFRI Plant Breeding Projects. The projects focus on public breeding efforts to improve crop yield, efficiency, quality and adaptation to diverse agricultural systems and include:

  • Prebreeding and germplasm enhancement, cultivar development, selection theory, applied quantitative genetics, and participatory breeding.
  • Development of tools to predict phenotype from genotype to accelerate breeding of finished varieties.
  • Conference grants to identify regional needs for plant breeding research, education or extension.

The department’s plant breeding program was very competitive this year, with only 5 percent of all proposals receiving funding. Of the nine proposals funded, two were in the department.

Details on Francis’s grant, “Prebreeding to Combine Resistances to Pathogens from Three Kingdoms in Processing and Fresh-market Tomato,” here; and on Sneller’s grant, “Implementing Genome Selection: Assessing Trait and Genome Change and Developing Breeding Strategies,” here.