Plant Breeding and Genetics

Optimizing Crops for Colorado’s Landscapes

We understand the importance of developing solutions now to meet the production needs of our changing climate. Our goal is to develop optimized production crops that are high yielding and disease resistant.

Our graduate students play a crucial role in variety research and development. We utilize field research sites across the state and our students get the opportunity to focus their research in a variety of landscapes. 

Plant Breeding and Genetics

wheat in field

Crop Breeding and Genetics

We have the unique challenge of improving crops to fit Colorado’s agricultural limitations like high elevations, unpredictable rainfall, and short growing seasons. Our efforts focus on breeding, development, and testing to improve cultivars and genetics in important crops like:

  • Wheat
  • Dry beans
  • Barley
  • Oilseed crops
  • Corn

We also have a comprehensive crop molecular genetics program involving molecular mapping and characterization of agronomically important traits specifically for wheat, beans, and barley.


Plant Breeding Methods

Our department uses methodologies in genetic engineering, biotechnologies and innovation to understand benefits and risk outcomes in plant breeding. We use an interdisciplinary approach and employ several analytics in our work:

  • Molecular marker mapping
  • Quantitative trait locus analysis
  • Marker-assisted selection
  • Cytogenetics
  • Quantitative and population genetics
  • Physiological and statistical genetics
  • Disease and insect resistance
  • Improving crop nutritional value

Plant Breeding and Genetics Faculty

Take a moment to browse our faculty based on their specialized research areas.

Breeding and Genetics Graduate Programs

Master of Science in Soil and Crop Science, Plant Breeding and Genetics

We also offer a Ph.D. in Soil and Crop Sciences.

We have specific application requirements for our graduate programs. We only accept students who have already found a faculty advisor. Take a moment to browse our graduate program application requirements.

wheat field