Robert E. Ballard


Contact Information

Phone: 864 656-3579
Fax: 864-656-0435


  • Ph.D. Botany, University of Iowa, 1975
  • M. S. Botany, Miami University, 1968
  • B. S. Biology, Miami University, 1966

Research Interests

    Current research interests are in three areas:

  • Genome Mapping and Plant Breeding: We are constructing a genetic linkage map of peach and rose consisting of DNA (RFLP, RAPD, AFLP, microsattelite) and morphological markers. The development of a saturated genetic linkage map would have a number of advantages for the plant breeders. For example, evaluating progeny for the presence of desirable alleles (e.g., pest resistance) often requires field evaluation. Field testing limits the size of the breeding program because of the demand it creates for space, time, and personnel. When linkages between DNA marker loci and beneficial traits are tight enough, it is possible to "tag" these alleles and detect their presence in progeny very early in the seedlings development.
  • Plant Systematics and Evolution: We are investigating the relationship of cultivated sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) to its wild relatives. The wild Ipomoea species are a valuable source of pest and stress resistance and other economically important genes. These genes from the wild species have not been used in sweetpotato improvement due to difficulties in interspecific hybridization. The identities of many of the close relatives
    have been confused, and attempts of hybridization to sweetpotato have been limited. Determination of the genetic relatedness of wild species to cultivated species give the breeder