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Christina T Walters

Supervisory Plant Physiologist

Chris Walters 


My research focuses on how to keep germplasm within our collections alive and healthy.  I focus on seeds and pollen because they naturally develop tolerance to the extreme dry and cold that we use in the genebank. A lot of people think of seeds as little ‘rocks,’ but they are living!  They don’t seem to be alive until they are germinated, and they can age and die during storage.  I am responsible for identifying conditions that prevent aging in dry seeds and developing tools that detect aging before it causes seeds and pollen to die.  Seeds from some of our favorite trees (e.g., oaks) and fruits (e.g., citrus) don’t survive well under genebanking conditions and my work also investigates how we can treat these ‘special cases’ to ensure we have the genetic resources needed for the future. In my lab, we work with all kinds of species.  Most of them are wild, but related to the crop germplasm that is stored at NLGRP.   I work with plant conservation groups to make sure we can genebank the diversity of Earth’s flora.


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