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Stephen J Stringer

Research Geneticist (Plants)

                                                      Dr. Stephen Stringer




Academic Background

Ph.D.  1987.  Louisiana State University.  Plant Breeding/Genetics

M.S. 1981.  Louisiana State University. Plant Breeding/Genetics

B.S. 1977.  Louisiana State University. Agronomy


Professional Experience:

2000 - Present:  Research Geneticist, USDA-ARS Thad Cochran Southern Horticulture Laboratory, Poplarville, MS.  Leader of breeding / genetics research program to develop improved small fruit cultivars for the Gulf-coast region of the U.S.

Program produces and distributes materials of both rabbiteye and southern highbush blueberries and muscadine grapes and supports continued evaluation and cultivar release with state co-operators. Program has released six new small fruit cultivars in the last 8 years.  Current research emphasizes on development of new cultivars with improved adaptation, productivity, fruit quality, nutraceutical value, and earliness to provide growers with improved opportunities to compete in fresh berry and processing markets. Research also emphasizes research to improve production and develop environmentally sound cultural and integrated pest management practices. 


2006 - Present:  Adjunct Professor, Mississippi State University Department of Plant Sciences, Starkville, MS.  Serves as advisor and committee member to graduate students seeking advanced degrees in the Department of Plant Sciences.


1991 - 1999:  Research Biologist, Market Development, FMC Corporation. Princeton, N.J. Lead regional program by conducting efficacy, residue, and biological studies on development of new chemistries and coordinated research with USDA and university personnel to evaluate and develop experimental herbicides and insecticides in major agronomic and horticultural crops in the mid-South.  Major accomplishments included development of low volatility herbicide formulations of clomazone for use in cotton, sulfentrazone for utilization in soybeans and sugarcane, and carfentrazone for use in corn and rice.


1998 - 1991:  Research Specialist, University of Arkansas, Marianna, AR.  Conducted research as part of an interdisciplinary team emphasizing cotton breeding / genetics with emphasis on host-plant resistance to insect pests, improved fiber quality, and enhanced yield potential.  Research also emphasized development of an expert systems approach to promote boll retention, earliness, and plant vigor; and to reduce late season applications of pesticides. Three new cotton cultivars were developed released from the program, as was "COTMAN", a cotton crop management program now employed across the cotton belt utilizing in-season monitoring techniques to define crop status, reduce the impact of environmental stresses, and ultimately employ precisely  timed protective and corrective measures.


1977 - 1988.  Research Associate, Louisiana State University.  Duties and responsibilities: Primary responsibility was to conducted breeding genetics research in cotton for development of improved germplasm possessing resistance to insect pests including Heliothis spp., boll weevil, and plant bugs, and reduce dependence upon the use of pesticides..  Three new cotton cultivars developed from this germplasm, planted on several million acres across the Southern U.S, are still in cultivation.




Research Interests


blueberry          Eudora muscadine grape                                            

'Prince' blueberry                'Eudora' muscadine                      

Research in the lab focuses on small fruit breeding and genetics research and development of improved cultural practices for more profitable production of these crops. The primary goals of blueberry program are the development of improved rabbiteye and southern highbush blueberries through the use of intra and interspecific hybridizations and recurrent selection to improve vigor, productivity, fruit quality and earliness. Blueberry research is also being conducted to evaluate the efficacy and safety of herbicides, growth regulators, and frost protectants on these crops.

Muscadine grapes breeding is primarily focused on the development of productive, vigorous, disease resistant, fresh market muscadine grapes posessing thinner skins, melting flesh, high sugar content and increased neutraceutical values. Muscadine production research is also being conducted to evaluate the efficacy of growth regulators for use in developing seedless fruit and in increasing fruit size.