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WSU Plant Breeding

trials students

The goal of the Plant Breeding program at The Bread Lab is to add to the long-term environmental and economic health of farming in western Washington while producing a food crop that is safe and high in nutritional value. The complexities of farming systems in western Washington are acknowledged and nonreductionist approaches are favored.

Areas of graduate student research include breeding for traditional and organic farming systems, farmer participatory breeding, converting wheat to a perennial crop, evolution of wheat species, increased water and nitrogen-use efficiencies of crop plants and non-GMO use of wild species for crop improvement. Tools involve classical genetics, cytogenetics, marker technologies and innovative breeding strategies.

Farmers work closely with breeders to help set research priorities, and in some cases, farmers are developing their own varieties that will be uniquely adapted to their farming system.