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Byron Burson

Burson, Byron
Byron Burson
College Station, Texas

Specialty:Grass Genetics

Research activities are focused on the breeding of perennial, warm-season grass species for the eventual development of improved germplasm and cultivars to be used for forage and bioenergy purposes.  Because most of these grasses are apomictic and cytologically complex, this research includes investigating the cytogenetics and reproductive biology of the germplasm used in the breeding program as well as interspecific hybrids produced in the program.  This includes: determining the cytogenetic behavior of complex polyploid grass species and hybrids; establishing phylogenetic relationships among different species in agamic complexes; identifying and circumventing incompatibility barriers that prevent hybridization between distantly related species; determining the method of reproduction of various grasses, including apomictic mechanisms; and using this fundamental information to develop novel breeding approaches to develop true breeding apomictic cultivars.  Recent research activities have included using molecular tools to identify hybrids, map economically important genes, and determine and characterize the genetic diversity within different species.  Much of this research has been conducted in collaboration with the perennial grass breeder in the Department of Soil & Crop Sciences.