Peach geneticist honored for research

By Peter Kent

Albert “Bert” AbbottAlbert “Bert” Abbott has received Clemson University's highest agricultural honor: the Godley-Snell Award for Excellence in Agricultural Research.

He holds the Robert and Lois Coker Trustees Chair in Molecular Genetics and is a professor in the genetics and biochemistry department. Abbott is the 23rd faculty member recognized for agricultural research excellence and for making outstanding contributions toward improving the lives of South Carolinians.

Abbott’s research, teaching and leadership significantly contributed to Clemson being internationally recognized for its studies in the Rosaceae family of fruits, particularly peaches. Other members of this family include plums, apricots, nectarines, cherries, apples, almonds and strawberries.

“Consumers are becoming much more aware of the health benefits associated with varieties optimized for nutritional value,” Abbott said. “The stone fruit industry in South Carolina and the nation faces many significant challenges. These varieties will help growers gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.”

South Carolina is the second-largest producer of peaches in the nation behind California. The peach is South Carolina’s state fruit and the peach industry generates approximately $40 million for the state’s economy.

For information: Bert Abbott, 864-656-3060,