Herman M. Cohn Professor of Agriculture and Life Science
The apple breeding program at Cornell is one of the largest fruit breeding programs in the world. My objectives include the development of new superior varieties for the apple industry with unique flavors, exceptional crispness, enhanced storage and shelf life, and the incorporation of resistance to disease and insect pests, and training students in the science of fruit breeding and genetics.
We use traditional breeding to develop new apple varieties, furthering our knowledge of the genetics of key traits in apples and identifying molecular markers for important characteristics for use in marker-assisted breeding (MAB). We identify outstanding advanced selections for potential variety release, and evaluate populations to study the inheritance of plant form, antioxidants, quality attributes and other characters. Interspecific hybrid populations are providing valuable material to study methylation of genes, as well as offering vast phenotypic diversity for genetic studies.
Outreach and Extension Focus
Emphasis is on producing superior advanced apple selections for commercialization, including novel uses and ornamental types. Growers are updated on the status of the breeding program and issues in intellectual property rights, and are given the opportunity to sample advanced selections at a variety showcase. Trees of advanced selections have been established in grower orchards throughout the state to test their adaptation and potential. This is done in cooperation with Cornell Cooperative Extension. Trials are also being established in other regions of the US and internationally.
Apple breeding and genetic improvement. Integration of genomic tools in the breeding of clonal fruit tree crops such as apple.
Awards and Honors
- Herman M. Cohn Professor of Agriculture and Life Sciences (2020) CALS
- Goichman Family Directorship of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (2017) CALS/Cornell
- Wilder Medal for Outstanding service to Horticulture (2016) American Pomological Society
- New York State Senate Women of Distinction (2014) New York State Senate
- SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Faculty Service (2013) The State University of New York
- Gutierrez, B., Zhong, G., & Brown, S. K. (2018). Increased phloridzin content associated with russeting in apple (Malus domestica (Suckow) Borkh.) fruit. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution. 65:2135–2149.
- Gutierrez, B., Arro, J., Zhong, G., & Brown, S. K. (2018). Linkage and association analysis of dihydrochalcones phloridzin, sieboldin, and trilobatin in Malus. Tree Genetics & Genomes. 14:Article 91.
- Gutierrez, B., Zhong, G., & Brown, S. K. (2018). Genetic diversity of dihydrochalcone content in Malus germplasm. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution. 65:1485–1502.
- Yue, C., Gallardo, K., Luby, J., Rihn, A., McFerson, J., McCracken, V., Bedford, D., Brown, S. K., Evans, K., Webadde, C., Sebolt, A., & Iezzoni, A. (2013). An investigation of United States apple producers trait prioritization-evidence from audience surveys. HortScience. 48:1378-1384.
- Yang, X., Brown, S. K., & Davies, P. J. (2013). The content and in vivo metabolism of gibberellin in apple vegetative tissues. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science. 138:17278-17283.
- Xu, K., Wang, A., & Brown, S. K. (2012). Genetic characterization of the Ma locus with pH and titratable acidity in apple. Molecular Breeding. 30:899Ð912.
- Wang, A., Aldwinckle, H. S., Forsline, P. L., Main, D., Fazio, G., Brown, S. K., & Xu, K. (2012). EST contig-based SSR linkage maps for Malus x domestica Royal Gala and an apple scab resistant accession of M. sieversii, the progenitor species of domestic apple. Molecular Breeding. 29:379-397.
- Rao, M. A., & Brown, S. K. (2011). Rheological characteristics of apple skin and apple firmness. International Journal of Food Properties. 14:1297-1304.
- Ko, K., Brown, S. K., Norelli, J. L., Hrazdina, G., & Aldwinckle, H. S. (2010). In vitro pollen functionality of attacin-transgenic “Royal Gala” apple plants and apples transformed with 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid synthase (ACS)-antisense vector. Plant Biosystems. 144:6.
- Shulaev, V., Korban, S. S., Sosinski, B., Abbott, A. G., Aldwinckle, H. S., Folta, K. M., Iezzoni, A., Main, D., Arus, P., Dandekar, A. M., Lewers, K., Brown, S. K., Davis, T. M., Gardiner, S. M., Potter, D., & Veilleux, R. E. (2008). Multiple models for Rosaceae genomics. Plant Physiology. 147:985-1003.
Presentations and Activities
- Cornell Apple breeding and the Benefits of Rutgers University Training. Rutgers Plant science seminars. November 2018. Rutgers University. New Brunswick, NJ.
- Cornell Apple Breeding and Variety Testing. Great Lakes Fruit Workers Meeting. November 2018. Great Lakes Fruit Working Group, North Central Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Ithaca, NY United States.
- Apples: Harnessing Diversity for Genetic Improvement. 2018 Annual Meeting of the National Association of Plant Breeders. August 2018. National Association of Plant Breeders. Guelph, ON, Canada.
- Apple Genetic Improvement: Challenges but so many Opportunities. Michigan State Plant Sciences Seminar series. April 2018. Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI.
- New Apple Varieties on the Horizon. November 2017. Ct Pomological Society.. Middletown, CT.
- Breeding for Climate Change: Complexity and Challenges. September 2017. University of Rochester. Rochester, NY.
- Fueling the Future: The Intellectual Capital of Geneva. Geneva Discovery Days. February 2017. The Boys and Girls Club of Geneva. Geneva, NY.
- Apple research at Cornell. Great Lakes Plant Breeding Initiative (GLPBI). July 2013. Cornell. NYSAES.
- Apple breeding and genetics. Docents of Rochester Museum and Science Center. May 2013. Cornell. NYSAES Geneva NY.
- Apple breeding and genetics: Recent advances. Boyce Thompson Institue's Postgraduate Society Seminar Series. April 2013. Boyce Thompson Institute. Ithaca, NY.