Carl Griffey


  • W.G. Wysor Professor of Crop Genetics and Breeding


Ph.D., Agronomy, University of Nebraska, 1987

M.S., Agronomy, Washington State University, 1984

B.S., Plant and Soil Science, University of Tennessee, 1981


2002 - Present - Professor, Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech

1995 - 2002 - Associate Professor, Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech

1989 - 1995 - Assistant Professor, Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech


Link to curriculum vita

Courses Taught

  • HORT/CSES 5304 - Advanced Plant Genetics and Breeding

Other Teaching and Advising

Responsible for training and mentoring graduate students and strive to provide and instill in them the knowledge, skills and desire to competitively pursue and excel as professionals in a diverse array of careers.  I have served on graduate committees of 24 Ph.D. and 17 M.S. students.

Program Focus

Conduct research leading to the development of improved traditional and specialty varieties of small grains, whose production and utilization affords increased economic returns, high quality and safe food, feed, fuel, and a cleaner environment.  Collaborative research and product development is conducted with USDA-ARS, Virginia Crop Improvement Association, Mennel Milling Company, and Miller Milling Company.  During the past 22 years, seven hulled and three hulless barley varieties and 57 wheat varieties including 50 soft red winter, one soft white winter, four hard red winter, and two winter durum wheat varieties have been developed and released by my program.  In Virginia and the mid-Atlantic region, plant diseases are the primary limiting factor in small grain production.  Diseases of wheat and barley frequently result in yield losses ranging from 10 to 20%. Therefore, a major portion of my research program has focused on the identification, genetic characterization, mapping, and utilization of durable disease resistance genes. 

Role of Graduate Students

Graduate students receive both formal education and hands on training to prepare them for diverse careers in plant breeding, genetics, genomics, or other related disciplines.  Graduate students assist and are involved in all aspects of the variety development program, thus obtaining the necessary knowledge and skills to excel as traditional plant breeders, plant geneticists, and plant molecular biologists.  Graduate student research projects are designed to provide them with this comprehensive training and experience while addressing and solving key problems associated with variety improvement and agricultural profitability.  Graduate students play a key role in the advancement of science and agriculture through their involvement and presentation of research findings in the class room, at field day events, and at regional and national professional meetings.  Graduate students also play a critical role in mentoring and providing training to undergraduates.       

Future Research

Improvements in small grains, including wheat and barley, have lagged behind those made in rice, maize, and soybean due to several factors, including a disparity in the proportion of private versus public investment in research and variety development.  Other factors include lack of universal acceptance of GMO crops, complexity of wheat’s hexaploid genome, and lack of complete genome sequences and readily available DNA markers for many traits of economic importance.  Future research conducted by the scientific community will address these issues.  Emphasis will be placed on improving yields and yield efficiency particularly in relation to climate change, water and nitrogen use efficiency, and durable disease resistance.    


Extension Program

Research findings, recommendations, and new varieties are disseminated to stakeholders via outreach, field days, and collaborations with producers, seedsmen, and other end users in both the public and private sectors.

Dr. Carl Griffey
  • (540) 231-9789
  • 185 Ag Quad Lane
    334A Smyth Hall
    Blacksburg, Virginia