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Faculty receive grant for collaboration of new grape breeding program

Friday, December 7, 2012

Two Missouri State University professors at the William H. Darr School of Agriculture were awarded a $274,519 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in partnership with Truman State University.

Dr. Chin-Feng Hwang, associate professor, and Dr. Wenping Qiu, research professor, will initiate the Non Land Grant Colleges of Agriculture Program (NLGCA) project entitled “Building Research and Education Capacities to Strengthen the Grape Breeding Program and Expand the Plant Science Curriculum.”

“The goal of this project is to build a collaborative program between Missouri State University and Truman State University that will lay a solid foundation for the Norton-based grape breeding program,” said Hwang. “This initiative will address the skilled workforce shortage for the American grape and wine industry by providing much needed graduates with hands-on experience both in the laboratory and vineyard.”

Vitis aestivalis “Norton” is the state grape of Missouri and is naturally disease resistant.

“The collaborative effort will also accelerate the testing and release of new hybrids of American Norton grape and Vitis vinifera, the European grape cultivars used for most wine making worldwide, e.g., Cabernet Sauvignon,” said Qiu. “The offspring will be selected to have enhanced disease resistance and improved fruit quality for future commercial planting.”

Hwang and Qiu are conducting the project in conjunction with Dr. Mark Campbell from Truman State University. The funding will support the program through August 2014.

For more information, contact Hwang at (417) 547-7538.


About the Darr School of Agriculture
The William H. Darr School of Agriculture integrates excellence in teaching, service and research into each of the nine undergraduate and three graduate programs. Within the school, there are four units: general agriculture; agribusiness, agricultural education and communications; animal science; and environmental plant science and natural resources. Each program has unique research facilities that allow for hands-on research.
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