Research Highlight: Wenwei Xu
Dr. Wenwei Xu's corn breeding and genetics program focuses on developing multiple stress tolerant corn germplasm for food, feed, and or silage by using conventional and molecular breeding methods. Major target traits include yield, drought and heat tolerance, corn earworm resistance, aflatoxin resistance, and mite resistance, and strong adaptation to the Southern environments. He is introgressing desirable genes from tropical and subtropical corn into temperate lines. His group has established a method for field evaluation of drought and heat tolerance, discovered root systems and hydraulic lift as a drought tolerance mechanism, officially released four inbred lines, developed a number of superior advanced lines, established strong collaboration with seed industry and close relationship with producers, and licensed germplasm to over ten seed companies.
Importance of Graduate Students
"Graduate students practice teamwork and communication in their research experiences. And students are not the only beneficiaries of their work", Xu says.
Dr. Xu's future research will involve working with crosses between temperate and tropically adapted varieties of corn to find a drought-tolerant plant that performs well under reduced irrigation. "With the continuing decline of the Ogallala Aquifer water level and increasing cost of pumping water, the use of drought-tolerant and high-yield corn hybrids is a key for sustainable corn production under limited irrigation," Xu said.
Dr. Wenwei Xu, Ph.D. - Professor of Corn Breeding (PSS) with Joint Appointment with the Texas AgriLife Research