Research Geneticist, USDA, Agricultural Research Service
Tommy Thompson received his B.S. in Agricultural Education and M.S. in Plant Breeding and Genetics from Texas A&M University in 1966 and 1970, respectively. He received his Ph.D. from Purdue University in Genetics and Plant Breeding in 1973. He became a member of the graduate faculty at TexasA&M in 1990.
Dr. Thompson directs the multilocation national ARS pecan breeding program. This is the largest, and essentially the only, pecan breeding program in the world. The primary mission of the program is to develop, test and release superior pecan scion cultivars and rootstocks for all pecan growing areas of the U.S. Thisuncludes planning and making controlled pollinations, growing and fruiting seedling progenies, evaluating and selecting promising seedlings, establishing and maintaining performance test sites across the U.S. and releasing superior new cultivars. Dr. Thompson conducts research to determine inheritance of major traits such as yield and disease resistance. Also, he assists Dr. L. J. Grauke in developing and maintaining a collection of pecan cultivars and other clones and related species in the National Clonal Germplasm Repository for Pecan and Hickories. Also, he serves as the Chairperson of the Crop Germplasm Committee for Pecan and Hickories.
Dr. Thompson has experience in breeding other crops such as sunflower, alfalfa, sorghum, flax, and perennial forage grasses. He has taught beginning genetics and advanced theoretical genetics classes at Purdue and West Texas A&M Universities. He has served as a member of the graduate faculties and directed graduate students at Purdue, North Dakota State University, and West Texas A&M University. He has published over 200 scientific papers.