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John (jay) L Norelli (Jay)

Research Plant Pathologist

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Dr. John (Jay) L. Norelli  
Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement and Protection 
Research Plant Pathologist
Phone: (304) 725-3451 ext. 264 
Fax: (304) 728-2340
Room 335


Curriculum Vitae

Education and Degrees

1986 Ph.D.  Plant Pathology.  Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850.  Dissertation: Differential Virulence in Erwinia amylovora.

1978 M.S. Plant Pathology. The University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720.    Thesis: Etiology of Fusarium yellows of celery.

1973 B.S. Agricultural Science. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850.


2001-Present  Research Plant Pathologist: USDA-ARS, Appalachian Fruit Research Station. Kearneysville, WV 25430. Duties include conducting research on plant diseases that have a significant impact on apple fruit production.
1993-2001 Non-tenure Track Faculty: Cornell University, Department of Plant Pathology, Geneva, NY 14456. Duties included conducting research on fire blight disease of apple and genetic transformation of apple, advising graduate students, and managing laboratory of Dr. Herbert S. Aldwinckle
1978-1993 Research Associate: Cornell University, Department of Plant Pathology, Geneva, NY 14456. Duties included conducting research on the biology, epidemiology and control of fire blight disease of apple under supervision of Dr. H.S. Aldwinckle.
1974-1976  Experimentalist: Cornell University, Department of Plant Pathology, Ithaca, NY 14853. Duties included conducting research on the biology, epidemiology and control of fire blight disease of apple under supervision of Dr. Steven V. Beer.
1973-1974    U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer: Bureau of Plant Industries, Pangasinan, The Philippine Islands. Duties included agricultural extension to vegetable growers and upland rice farmers.

Norelli Personnel

Roger Lewis

Norelli Laboratory Publications

Google Scholar:

Current Projects

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Fire blight resistance in Malus sieversii

Fire blight is a devastating disease of apple that can kill young trees outright or result in permanent structural damage to mature trees. Annual losses to fire blight and costs of control in the United States are estimated at $100 million. Fire blight remains a challenging disease to control. Recent plantings of susceptible scion cultivars on susceptible rootstocks have further increased the potential of fire blight epidemics in apple orchards to unprecedented levels.

The goal of this project is to identify the best sources of fire blight resistance within Malus sieversii, the wild large-fruited progenitor of domesticated apple, for use in scion breeding. The selection of accessions for use in breeding will be based upon both their fire blight resistance and their fruit quality. Incorporating fire blight resistance into apple breeding programs will lead to the release of new cultivars with fire blight resistance and thereby greatly reduce the occurrence of fire blight

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Efficient breeding of disease resistant apple

Outbreaks of disease can severely reduce apple fruit production. New cultivars with improved disease resistance will be needed in order for the U.S. apple industry to remain competitive. Useable resistance to the majority of the disease threats is present in wild apple relatives or domesticated apple, but making multiple crosses over multiple generations to combine a suite of resistant alleles to maximize the durability of the resistance can take many years due to the long generation time of apple.

Elite parents containing pyramided alleles for multiple disease resistances, along with many desirable fruit quality traits, would eliminate the need to make crosses over a series of generations. DNA tests developed for validated disease resistance loci will provide efficient methods to track inheritance of target alleles in elite breeding parents and their subsequent transfer to progeny. The desired alleles will be accumulated in elite donor parents by accelerated breeding using quick-to-flower transgenic apple which has reduced generation time from 3-6 years to 10-18 months.