Professor & Basye Endowed Chair in Rose Genetics
David Byrne received his B.S. in Plant Science from Rutgers University in 1975. He received his Ph.D. in Plant Breeding in 1980 from Cornell University. He conducts the Prunus and Rosa Breeding and Genetics Programs as well as teaches classes in the subject areas of fruit and nut production, tropical horticulture, and plant breeding and genetics.
The thrust of the applied plant improvement work is breeding for adaptation: disease resistance, consistent yield and fruit quality under mild winter conditions in stone fruit, and black spot resistance, heat tolerance and consistent flower productivity and quality under a hot humid climate for landscape roses. The stone fruit breeding develops early-ripening fresh market types to improve the range of low chill varieties available with emphasis on unique types to market and the health benefits of these fruits. Other research is focused on germplasm analysis, the improvement of breeding procedures in perennial crops, and the genetics of markers and other traits.