Researchers at Washington State University have been awarded more than $14 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture grants aimed at strengthening markets for specialty crops, including wine grapes, hops, berries and tree fruit.
Two projects will share $5.9 million awarded under the Special Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) which funds research for specialty crop production.
Bioinformaticist Dorrie Main received $2.7 million to support her genome database which provides public access to genetic and breeding data for the rosacaeae family of flowering plants like almond, apple, cherry, peach, pear, raspberry and strawberry.
“Ultimately this research helps create better cultivars by helping breeders decide which parents to cross to get the optimal traits in offspring,” said Main.
Meanwhile Doug Walsh receive $3.2 million to develop strategies for pest and disease free management in hops, which will help meet market demand for damage-free hops grown with fewer chemicals.