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Dr. Sindhuja Sankaran Phenomics Lab
Kate M. Evans, Professor, Interim Director, Department of Horticulture, Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center, Wenatchee, WA

Evans leads the pome fruit breeding program, currently focusing on apple scions and pear rootstocks for Washington and the PNW. Her program is predominantly field based but has incorporated DNA-informed breeding at several stages. She has collaborated with Sankaran in sensing methods for assessing disease progression and is actively researching high throughput methods for fruit quality evaluation. Evans took over from retired WSU apple breeder Bruce Barritt for the final stages of selection and release of the new WA 38 apple, Cosmic Crisp®, a highly anticipated, juicy, flavorful, and long-storing variety for Washington growers.

Program Description:

WSU’s pome fruit breeding program focuses on two areas of improving efficiency and accuracy of selection: (i) development of trait-linked DNA-based markers for screening germplasm; and (ii) development and validation of (predominantly) non-destructive phenotypic methodology. Both approaches depend on analysis of large, complex phenotypic datasets. Students may participate in generation of and/or analysis of data linked to, for example, infection of the bacterial disease fire blight or near infrared spectral imaging of fruit quality, as well as have the opportunity to be involved in an applied tree fruit breeding program.

Location: Wenatchee, WA

Dr. Kate Evans

Fire blight in apple