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Tropical Research & Education Center

Tropical Research & 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
    • Identification of candidate flavonoid pathway genes using transcriptome correlation network analysis in ripe strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa) fruits

    Journal of Experimental Botany 2015

    Authors: Pillet Jeremy, Hao-Wei Yu, Alan H Chambers, Vance Whitaker, Kevin Folta

    • Identification of a strawberry flavor gene using an integrated genetic-genomic-analytical chemistry approach

    BMC Genomics April 17, 2014

    Authors: Alan H Chambers, J Pillet, A Plotto, J Bai, V Whitaker, K Folta

    • Methyl anthranilate and gamma-decalactone inhibit strawberry pathogen growth and achene germination

    Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry November 12, 2013

    Authors: Alan H Chambers, Shane Evans, K Folta

    • Limitations of morphological ploidy estimation methods in Fragaria

    Journal of Berry Research November 18, 2013

    Authors: Alan H Chambers, H Pollard, K Folta

    • A genome-enabled, high-throughput, and multiplexed fingerprinting platform for strawberry (Fragaria)

    Molecular Breeding March 2013

    Authors: Alan H Chambers, S Carle, W Njuguna, Srikar Chamala, N Bassil, V Whitaker, B Barbazuk, K Folta

    • Detection of the linalool-producing NES1 variant across diverse strawberry (Fragaria spp.) accessions

    Plant Breeding April 10, 2012

    Authors: Alan H Chambers, V Whitaker, B Gibbs, A Plotto, K Folta

    • Recombineering using RecTE from Pseudomonas syringae

    Applied and Environmental Microbiology June 1, 2010

    Authors: Bryan Swingle, Z Bao, E Markel, Alan H Chambers, S Cartinhour

    • Streptomyces scabies 87-22 contains a coronafacic acid-like biosynthetic cluster that contributes to plantmicrobe interactions

    Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions February 2010

    Authors: D Bignell, R Seipke, J Huguet-Tapia, Alan H Chambers, R Parry, R Loria

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