Plant Breeding

Breeding new crop varieties is vital to our food supply and the success of agricultural industries in the 21st century. Growers are faced with numerous challenges such as plant disease, climate change, evolving consumer preferences and market competition. Our plant breeders help overcome these challenges through the development of fruit and vegetable varieties with improved disease resistance, climate suitability, flavor profiles, travel longevity and other unique traits that lead to success in the field and the market place.

For over 100 years, Cornell AgriTech has been a world-renowned campus for plant breeding with over 250 apple, grape, berry and vegetable varieties developed.

Many of the world's most popular apple varieties were developed at Cornell AgriTech such as Jonagold, Empire, Ruby Frost and Snapdragon. Our apple breeding program continues to help growers succeed across New York, the U.S. and the world.

New York's burgeoning wine and grape industries have also benefited from the development of many successful juice, table and wine grape varieties at Cornell AgriTech.

Our berry breeding program is the oldest in the United States and new raspberry, strawberry and blackberry varieties continue to help growers add appeal to farm market and grocery shelves each year.

Consumers are looking for new, visually attractive and flavorful vegetable varieties and our breeders are meeting this demand through the development of unique, delicious, disease resistant and high-yielding vegetables.

Together, our scientists are developing vibrant, successful fruit and vegetable varieties for agricultural industries and the food supply of the 21st century.

 

Woman holding up an apple.
Several red and yellow apples on a grey table

We play a vital role in the success of the U.S. apple industry.

Person holding grapes in a vineyard.

We breed successful grapes for the wine and grape industries.

Assorted colors of berries.

Our berry breeding program supports the New York berry industry.

Lots of yellow peppers.

Our expertise covers the expanse of vegetables grown in New York.

Our plant breeding experts

A smiling woman holds an apple next to more apples piled on a table
Susan Brown

Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Horticulture Section

Plant Breeding and Genetics Section

Cornell AgriTech

Susan Brown
Plant breeding (apples)
Marker-assisted breeding
Bruce Reisch
Bruce Reisch

Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Horticulture Section

Plant Breeding and Genetics Section

Cornell AgriTech

Bruce Reisch
Grape breeding and genomics
Molecular genetic mapping
Marker-assisted selection
Phillip Griffiths
Phillip Griffiths

Associate Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Horticulture Section

Plant Breeding and Genetics Section

Cornell AgriTech

Phillip Griffiths
Vegetable breeding (brassicas and beans)
International agriculture
Molecular breeding and diagnostics
Courtney Weber
Courtney Weber

Associate Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Horticulture Section

Plant Breeding and Genetics Section

Cornell AgriTech

Courtney Weber
Berry breeding and genetics
Lawrence Smart
Lawrence Smart

Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Horticulture Section

Plant Breeding and Genetics Section

Associate Director

Cornell AgriTech

Lawrence Smart
Breeding and genomics
Industrial hemp
Willow bioenergy crops
kenong xu
Kenong Xu

Associate Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Horticulture Section

Cornell AgriTech

Kenong Xu
Tree fruit genomics
Apple gene regulatory networks
Man examining an apple tree
Awais Khan

Associate Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section

Cornell AgriTech

Awais Khan
Disease resistance in rosaceous fruits
High-throughput methods for plant resistance phenotyping
Mechanisms of disease resistance and pathogenesis
jason londo
Jason Londo

Adjunct associate professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Horticulture Section

Cornell AgriTech

Jason Londo
Grape stress physiology, genetics and genomics