David M. Francis, PhD

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Science
Department of Horticulture & Crop Science

210 Williams Hall


My research aims to define the genetic basis of field resistance, humid environment adaptation, and fruit quality, while contributing innovative strategies for crop improvement. The tomato breeding and genetics program has strengths in both the basic and applied sciences. Emphasis is placed on translating the results of plant genomics through the development of techniques for genetic mapping and selection in breeding populations. Individual projects stress multi-disciplinary approaches to breeding for disease resistance and end-product quality, understanding the genetic determinants of nutritional quality in tomato fruit, mechanisms of plant resistance to disease, population genetics of cultivated tomato, and the evolution of tomato and its wild relatives. We provide fundamental knowledge related to the genetic and molecular mechanisms that control disease resistance, tomato fruit quality, and the domestication of plants. Knowledge gained from these studies has directly resulted in the release of tomato varieties with improved disease resistance, enhanced processing quality, and enhanced nutritional value. Processing tomato hybrids and parents released by the program are used commercially and rank among the best in the Great Lakes industry for factory quality grade.

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