May 5, 2022
Texas A&M Honors Rose Geneticist

Texas A&M AgriLife rose geneticist David Byrne was recently honored by the university for his innovation and work resulting in protected plant genetics.

Dr. David Byrne on March 9, 2022 in College Station, Texas. (Sam Craft/Texas A&M AgriLife Marketing and Communications)
Dr. David Byrne on March 9, 2022 in College Station, Texas. (Sam Craft/Texas A&M AgriLife Marketing and Communications)

Byrne’s ongoing work involves development and integration of computational breeding tools to better use genomic information in polyploid crops, according to a news release from the university. He plans for his work with breeders to result in increasingly disease-resistant commercial roses.

The university’s annual Patent and Innovation Awards recognize the past year’s inventions that garnered patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and plant variety protection certificates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to the news release. The event also highlights individuals whose research exemplifies the spirit of innovation within the Texas A&M University System.

David Byrne, who also breeds stone fruit and is a professor, received one of four Texas A&M Innovation Awards for the year — selected from among submitted nominations, according to the news release. He joined 27 other AgriLife Researchroses scientists whose patents and variety protection certificates were recognized during a luncheon April 22.

Byrne holds the Basye Endowed Chair in Rose Genetics and works internationally in Prunus and Rosa breeding and genetics, according to the release. He worked in the 1990s alongside rose breeder and retired mathematics professor Robert Basye, Ph.D., to launch the Rose Breeding and Genetics Program. The program was later bolstered by a donation of breeding stock from Ralph Moore, known as the Father of the Miniature Rose.

Byrne also led the national Combating Rose Rosette Disease project, part of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Specialty Crop Research Initiative, according to the release. He continues to work alongside numerous rose scientists, private breeding programs, ornamental nurseries, marketers, producers and ornamental hobbyist groups.

His work has also included a Fulbright Scholarship to teach ornamental and fruit breeding in Brazil; international trips to explore and collect germplasm; invited talks and participation in international meetings; and sponsoring visiting scientists from Pakistan, China, Brazil, Iran, Cameroon and Thailand, according to the release.

Byrne now leads the Tools for Genomics-Assisted Breeding in Polyploids project, which continues to grow interest and adoption of polyploid computational tools. He also is chair of the National Clean Plant Network for roses.