Dr. Alan Chambers
Assistant Professor — Genetics and Breeding of Tropical Fruits
I am a tropical fruits breeder focused on identifying economically viable crops for southern Florida and creating novel cultivars through deep genomic/genetic insights and advanced molecular methods. The primary objective of my program is to increase value to growers and enhance the consumer experience. I am passionately interested in superior agronomic performance, enhanced sensory and nutritional quality, optimized sustainable production, and gaining fundamental insights enabling future genetic gains in target species. Finally, I am interested in developing domestic and international collaborations towards deploying genetic solutions that will improve access to nutritious, affordable, and abundant food irrespective of geography.
My program conducts innovative research on many species, and is supported by public and private funding. We accept small to large projects from diverse clientele including individual growers, technology leaders, and large corporations. The outputs from this research range from public dissemination of research results to licensing proprietary cultivars. I encourage interested parties to reach out to me directly with new collaborative opportunities.
Below is a partial list of my target species and priorities.
Mango – Fruit quality focusing on sweetness, acidity, texture, and aroma. Development of rapid breeding methods to decrease mango seed-to-seed breeding cycles from ~5 years to ~12 months. Candidate gene discovery and molecular marker discovery for marker-assisted breeding.
Banana – Novel sensory quality focusing on edible diploids for production in southern Florida. Trialing existing cultivars and the development of new cultivars with superior production traits.
Papaya – Formal breeding program focusing on fruit quality and production traits including winter productivity and quality, internal fruit color, sweetness, and aroma.
Vanilla – Genomics and genetics of Vanilla focusing on yield, quality, disease resistance, and the creation of novel cultivars for southern Florida. Conservation of our four native Vanilla species.
Strawberry – Trialing existing cultivars in southern Florida to support our local strawberry industry. Genetics, candidate gene discovery, and ploidy management of non-commercial strawberry species including Fragaria vesca. Trialing F. vesca cultivars for niche production.
Passionfruit – Trailing diverse cultivars for adaptability and fruit quality traits for southern Florida production. Rootstock trialing for disease resistance.
Avocado – Establishing rapid cycle breeding methods for avocado. Developing genomics resources to support avocado improvement.