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Tropical Research And Education Center

Tropical Research And Education Center

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.

  • Target Species and Priorities

    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. 

Dr. Alan Chambers


18905 SW 280 St.
Homestead, FL 33031-3314
(786) 217-9252


  • Education
    • Ph.D. University of Florida, Horticultural Science 2013
    • M.S. Cornell University, Plant Pathology/Phytopathology 2010
    • B.S. Brigham Young University, Genetics and Biotechnology, Plant Genetics, 2007
  • Publications

    Brym M (g), Fu Y, Frade N (U), Baldwin E, Chambers A. 2022. Strawberry cultivar trials for yield and fruit quality in subtropical southern Florida. HortTechnology 32(4):388-390.


    Anderson, J (G), Vidal R (g), Brym M, Stafne E, Resende M, Viana A, and Chambers A. 2022. Genotyping-by-sequencing of passion fruit (Passiflora spp.) generates genomic resources for breeding and systematics. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution, 1-18.


    Chagas P, Chagas E, Crane J, Vendrame W, Chambers A, Costa B, Neto A. 2022. Effect of naphthalene acetic acid, gibberellic acid, and spray adjuvant alone or in conjunction with hand pollination on fruit set and quality of ‘LeahReese’ sugar apple (Annona squamosa L.). Scientia Horticulturae.


    Brewer S. (G) and Chambers A. 2022. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing of phytoene desaturase in Carica papaya L. Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology.  


    Yoshinori U, Zhao W, Ihara H, Imahori Y, Tsantili E, Wendakoon s, Chambers A, and Bai J. 2022. Functional Characteristics of Aldehyde Dehydrogenase and Its Involvement in Aromatic Volatile Biosynthesis in Postharvest Banana Ripening. Foods 11:347.


    Suh J (p), Madden R (p), Sung J (p), Chambers A, Crane J, and Wang Y. 2021. Pathway-Based Metabolomics Analysis Reveals Biosynthesis of Key Flavor Compounds in Mango. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.


    Chambers A, Cibrián-Jaramillo A, Karremans A, Martinez D, Hernandez-Hernandez J, Brym M, Resende Jr M, Moloney R, Sierra S (g), Hasing T, and Alomia Y (g). 2021. Genotyping-By-Sequencing diversity analysis of international Vanilla collections uncovers hidden diversity and enables plant improvement. Plant Science, 311, p.111019.


    Brewer S (G), Plotto A, Bai J, Crane J, and Chambers A, 2021. Evaluation of 21 papaya (Carica papaya L.) accessions in southern Florida for fruit quality, aroma, plant height, and yield components. Scientia Horticulturae, 288, p.110387.


    Bally I, Bombarely A, Chambers A, Cohen Y, Dillon N, Innes D, Islas-Osuna M, Kuhn D, Mueller L, Ophir R, and Rambani A. 2021. The ‘Tommy Atkins’ mango genome reveals candidate genes for fruit quality. BMC plant biology, 21(1), pp.1-18.


    Wang Z (p), Li J (p), Chambers A, Crane J, and Wang, Y. 2021. Rapid Structure-Based Annotation and Profiling of Dihydrochalcones in Star Fruit (Averrhoa carambola) Using UHPLC/Q-Orbitrap-MS and Molecular Networking. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.


    Demesyeux L (G), Mendes M, Crow W, and Chambers A. 2020. Plant-parasitic nematodes associated with eight banana cultivars in southern Florida. Nematropica, 50(1), pp.19-28.


    Li J, Demesyeux L (G), Brym M, and Chambers A. 2020. Development of species-specific molecular markers in Vanilla for seedling selection of hybrids. Molecular Biology Reports, 47(3), pp.1905-1920.


    Hasing T, Tang H, Brym M, Khazi F, Huang T, and Chambers A. 2020. A phased Vanilla planifolia genome enables genetic improvement of flavour and production. Nature Food, 1(12), pp.811-819.


    Demesyeux L (G), Brym M, Valdes D (U), Collazo C (U), and Chambers A. 2020. Yield and miraculin content of nine miracle fruit (Synsepalum Dulcificum) morphotypes. Euphytica, 216(11), pp.1-12.


    Hu Y (p), Resende M, Bombarely A, Brym M, Bassil E, and Chambers A. 2019. Genomics-based diversity analysis of Vanilla species using a Vanilla planifolia draft genome and Genotyping-By-Sequencing. Scientific Reports 9:3416.


    Kuhn D, Livingstone III D, Richards J, Manosalva P, Van den Berg N, and Chambers A, 2019. Application of genomic tools to avocado (Persea americana) breeding: SNP discovery for genotyping and germplasm characterization. Scientia Horticulturae 246:1-11.


    Kuhn DN, Dillon N, Bally I, Groh A, Rahaman J, Warschefsky M, Freeman B, Innes D, and Chambers A. 2019. Estimation of genetic diversity and relatedness in a mango germplasm collection using SNP markers and a simplified visual analysis method. Scientia Horticulturae 252:156-168.


    Kuhn D, Freeman B, Geering A, and Chambers A. 2019. A Highly Sensitive Method to Detect Avocado Sunblotch Viroid for the Maintenance of Infection-Free Avocado Germplasm Collections. Viruses. 11(6):512.


    Kuhn DN, Groh A, Rahaman J, Freeman B, Arpaia M, Van den Berg N, Abeysekara N, Manosalva P, and Chambers A. 2019. Creation of an avocado unambiguous genotype SNP database for germplasm curation and as an aid to breeders. Tree Genetics & Genomes 15 (71).


    Sung J (p), Suh J (p), Chambers A, Crane J, and Wang Y. 2019. Relationship between Sensory Attributes and Chemical Composition of Different Mango Cultivars. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 67:5177-5188.


    Chambers A, Moon P, Fu Y, Choiseul J (U), Bai J, Plotto A, and Baldwin E. 2018. Yield and Fruit Quality of Sixteen Fragaria vesca Accessions Grown in Southern Florida. HortScience. 53(10):1396-1403.


    Moon P, Fu Y, Bai J, Plotto A, Crane J, and Chambers A. 2018. Assessment of fruit aroma for twenty-seven guava (Psidium guajava) accessions through three fruit developmental stages. Scientia Horticulturae. 238: 375-383.


    Chambers A, Demesyeux L (G), Moon P, and Fu Y. 2018. Optimization of miracle fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum) seed germination and mutagenesis. AJFST. 9(2):25-31.


    Pillet J (p), Chambers A, Barbey C (g), Bao Z, Plotto A, Bai J, Schwieterman M (g), Johnson T (g), Harrison B (g), Whitaker V, Colquhoun T, and Folta K. 2017. Identification of a methyltransferase catalyzing the final step of methyl anthranilate synthesis in cultivated strawberry. BMC Plant Biology. 17:147


    Saccomanno B (p), Chambers A, Hayes A, Mackay I, McWilliam S, and Trafford K. 2016. Starch granule morphology in oat endosperm. Journal of Cereal Sci. 73:46-54


    Pillet J (p), Yu H, Chambers A, Whitaker V, and Folta K. 2015. Identification of candidate flavonoid pathway genes using transcriptome correlation network analysis in ripe strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa) fruits. Journal of Experimental Botany 66:4455-4467.


    Chambers A, Pillet J (p), Plotto A, Bai J, Whitaker V, and Folta K. 2014. Identification of a strawberry flavor gene candidate using an integrated genetic-genomic-analytical chemistry approach. BMC genomics 15:1. doi 10.1186/1471-2164-15-217


    Chambers A, Carle S, Njuguna W, Chamala S, Bassil N, Whitaker V, Barbazuk W, and Folta K. 2013. A genome-enabled, high-throughput, and multiplexed fingerprinting platform for strawberry (Fragaria L.). Molecular Breeding:1-15.


    Chambers A, Evans S (u), and Folta K. 2013. Methyl anthranilate and γ-decalactone inhibit strawberry pathogen growth and achene germination. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 61:12625-12633.


    Chambers A, Pollard H (u), and Folta K. 2013. Limitations of morphological ploidy estimation methods in Fragaria. Journal of Berry Research 3:135-149. doi 10.3233/JBR-130057


    Chambers A, Whitaker V, Gibbs B (u), Plotto A, and Folta K. 2012. Detection of the linalool‐producing NES1 variant across diverse strawberry (Fragaria spp.) accessions. Plant Breeding. 131(3):437-443.


    Swingle B, Bao Z, Markel E, Chambers A, and Cartinhour S. 2010. Recombineering Using RecTE from Pseudomonas syringae. Appl Environ Microb 76:4960-4968.


    Bignell D (p), Seipke R (g), Huguet-Tapia J, Chambers A, Parry R, and Loria R. 2010. Streptomyces scabies 87-22 Contains a Coronafacic Acid-Like Biosynthetic Cluster That Contributes to Plant-Microbe Interactions. Mol Plant Microbe In 23:161-175. doi 10.1094/MPMI-23-2-0161


    Chambers A, Geary B, Black S (u), and Candelaria N. 2007. Confirmation of artificial endophyte inoculation in maize (Zea mays) and tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) by scanning electron microscopy and PCR amplification of ITS sequences. Phytopathology 97:S19-S19.


    Geary B, Benson J (g), Wood S (u), Logan J (u), Brulotte B (u), Chambers A, Maughan J, and Stevens M. 2006. Profiling of physical and molecular characteristics in neotyphodium isolates. Hortscience 41:1035-1035.


    Chambers A, Benson J (g), and Geary B. 2006. AFLP genetic analysis of eleven unique endophytes isolated from Festuca pratensis and Lolium prenne grass varieties. Phytopathology 96:S20-S20.

  • Recent Services and Honors
    • UNC Business Essentials Certificate
    • UNC Kenan-Flagler August 2015