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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Christopher Owens

Molecular Biologist (Plants)


Grape Genetics Research Unit


630 W. North St., Geneva, NY  14456

315 787 2437 (office)

315 787 2339 (fax)



Research in my laboratory is focused on understanding the molecular genetic variation and genetic regulation of key traits and processes in cultivated grapevine.  Specific emphasis is on the genetic dissection of factors contributing to fruit and wine quality.  We are using many approaches involving molecular biology, genetics, and genomics to understand the molecular basis of these traits.  Complimentary to these efforts, additional studies are being conducted to better understand grapevine genome structure and genome evolution.  The long term objectives of this research is to assist in the development of improved grape cultivars that possess high fruit quality, disease resistance, and abiotic stress tolerance.



••         B.S. University of Maryland, 1995, Horticulture

••         M.S. Cornell University, 1997, Pomology

••         Ph.D. Michigan State University, 2002, Plant Breeding and Genetics


Professional Experience

••         Geneticist, 2002-Present, USDA, ARS, NAA, Geneva, NY


Selected Publication

••         Reisch, B.I., C.L. Owens, and P.S. Cousins 2012. "Grape". In Fruit Breeding, Handbook of Plant Breeding 8. Springer.

••         Myles, S., A.R. Boyko, C.L. Owens, P.J. Brown, F. Grassi, M.K. Aradhya, B. Prins, A. Reynolds, J.M. Chia, D. Ware, C.D. Bustamante, E.S. Buckler 2011.  Genetic structure and domestication history of the grape.  PNAS 108:3530-3535.

••         Liang, Z. C.L. Owens, G.Y. Zhong, and L. Cheng 2011. Polyphenolic profiles detected in the ripe berries of Vitis vinifera germplasm. Food Chemistry 129:940-950.

••         Owens, C.L 2011.  "Linkage disequilibrium and prospects for association mapping in Vitis". In Genetics, Genomics and Breeding of Grapes. Adam-Blondon, A.F. and J.M Martinez-Zapater (eds.)

••         Garris, A., L. Clark, S. McKay, J. Luby, C.L. Owens K. Mathiason, and A. Fennell 2009. QTL mapping of photoperiod-triggered dormancy induction from the wild grape V. riparia. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science 134:261-272.

••         Cadle-Davidson, M.M., and C.L. Owens 2008.  Genomic amplification of the Gret1 retroelement in white-fruited accessions of wild Vitis and interspecific hybrids.  Theoretical and Applied Genetics 116:1079-1094.

••         Owens C.L. 2008 "Grapes". In Breeding Temperate Fruit Crops: Germplasm to Genomics, Hancock, J.F. (ed.). Springer.

••         This, P., T. Lacombe, M. Cadle-Davidson, and C.L. Owens. 2007.  Wine grape color (Vitis vinifera L.) associates with allelic variation in the domestication gene VvmybA1. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 114:723-730.

Last Modified: 8/22/2016
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