Professor and Executive Associate Dean
Patricia Klein received her B.S. in Horticulture from Texas A&M University in 1982. She received an M.S. in Crop Science from Texas Tech University in 1985 and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Texas A&M University in 1989. Dr. Klein left Texas A&M in 1989 to conduct post-doctoral work at the University of Kentucky and the USDA’s Eastern Regional Research Center in Philadelphia, PA. She came back to Texas A&M in 1997 and joined the faculty of the Department of Horticultural Sciences in 2002. Dr. Klein is also a member of the Interdepartmental Molecular and Environmental Plant Sciences program and a member of the Institute for Plant Genomics and Biotechnology.
Dr. Klein’s research aims to utilize advances in high-throughput genotyping, bioinformatics, and phenotyping to acquire knowledge of plant genes and germplasm, and utilize this information to develop markers for marker-assisted selection and for the development of new germplasm. To meet the needs of the increasing world population, crop productivity needs to double on existing agricultural lands, and breeding practices must be more efficient in meeting the needs for food, feed, and fiber. Technologies such as sequenced-based high-throughput genotyping, whole genome gene expression analyses, novel computational tools and high throughput phenotyping – can accelerate plant breeding and hence the speed at which new varieties are developed. Our research projects aim to develop as well as utilize recent advances in high-throughput sequencing, genotyping, transcriptomics, and bioinformatics to aid breeders to develop new sources of germplasm with enhanced traits of interest. We seek to develop genomic and genetic tools for several plant species including sorghum, pecan, rose and coffee to aid in crop improvement. Although vast amounts of information in genetics, genomics, phenomics and bioinformatics has been generated for many agronomic crops including sorghum, this is not true for a number of horticultural plants. Thus there is a need to continue to develop the genomic and genetic resources for these species to accelerate the breeding process. Additionally, there is still a challenge in determining how to take advantage of these resources in plant breeding programs for efficient crop improvement. Thus the overall goal of our research is to develop improved germplasm for a number of plant species either by introgressing traits from unadapted germplasm or through identification and incorporation of traits of interest into elite breeding material. In 2012, Dr. Klein was awarded the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean’s Outstanding Achievement Award for excellence as a member of the Sorghum Bioenergy Breeding and Genomics Interdisciplinary Research Team.
Dr. Klein currently teaches one undergraduate course, HORT301 – Garden Science, and two graduate courses, HORT681 – Graduate Seminar and HORT 690 – Professional Development