Christopher Saski

Associate Professor of Systems Genomics
Plant and Environmental Sciences Department

Office: 306B Biosystems Research Complex
Phone: 864-723-0835


 Educational Background

Ph.D. Genetics
Clemson University 2007

B.S. Microbiology
Clemson University 1999

 Courses Taught

PES 4050/6050 Introduction to Plant Breeding (Spring semesters)
PES 3500 Practicum


Dr. Christopher Saski joined the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Clemson University in the Spring of 2018. Dr. Saski is a systems geneticist and translational scientist at the frontier of discovery to develop and deliver new ways to understand and exploit the crop genome and germplasm collections to advance crop breeding, productivity, horticultural traits, and resilience to abiotic/biotic stresses. Dr. Saski brings an array of disciplinary expertise to the PES department that includes genomics, bioinformatics, computational biology, functional genomics, and genome engineering. His research transcends basic and applied sciences, and these experiences are recapitulated in the classroom. Dr. Saski recently received a highly competitive research award from Target, NASA, and CASIS to conduct cotton research aboard the International Space Station. He also serves as the Chair of the International Rosaceous Crop Executive Committee (ROSEXEC), and as an active member of the International Cotton Genome Sequencing Committee. Dr. Saski is also involved in developing and teaching courses, and advising and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students.

 Research Interests

Dr. Saski’s research interests include the use of systems-scale approaches to understand disease resistance and horticultural qualities in Rosaceous crops (peach, plum, cherry, apple, almond, and others). He also investigates fiber traits, genome evolution, somatic embryogenesis, and gene function in Upland cotton; and genome dynamics of rapid adaptation in weeds. Ultimately, Dr. Saski’s research portfolio is aimed to deliver healthier foods, more sustainable agriculture, and environmental systems that support agriculture.


1. Wu PP, Peng MS, Li ZG, Yuan N, Hu Q, Foster CE, Saski C, Wu GH, Sun DF, Luo H: DRMY1, a Myb-Like Protein, Regulates Cell Expansion and Seed Production in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Cell Physiol 2019, 60(2):285-302.
2. Krombeen SK, Shankar V, Noorai RE, Saski CA, Sharp JL, Wilson ME, Wilmoth TA: The identification of differentially expressed genes between extremes of placental efficiency in maternal line gilts on day 95 of gestation. BMC Genomics 2019, 20.
3. Cai LC, Quero-Garcia J, Barreneche T, Dirlewanger E, Saski C, Iezzoni A: A fruit firmness QTL identified on linkage group 4 in sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) is associated with domesticated and bred germplasm. Sci Rep-Uk 2019, 9.
4. Tetyana Zhebentyayeva VS, Ralph Scorza, Ann Callahan, Michel Ravelonandro, Sarah Castro, Theodore DeJong, Christopher Saski, Chris Dardick: Genetic characterization of world-wide Prunus domestica (plum) germplasm using sequence-based genotyping Horticulture Research 2018.
5. Salas-Perez RA, Saski CA, Noorai RE, Srivastava SK, Lawton-Rauh AL, Nichols RL, Roma-Burgos N: RNA-Seq transcriptome analysis of Amaranthus palmeri with differential tolerance to glufosinate herbicide. PLoS One 2018, 13(4):e0195488.
6. Ravet K, Patterson EL, Krahmer H, Hamouzova K, Fan L, Jasieniuk M, Lawton-Rauh A, Malone JM, McElroy JS, Merotto A, Jr. et al: The power and potential of genomics in weed biology and management. Pest Manag Sci 2018.
7. Ranjana Bhattacharjee CON, Christopher A Saski,Agre Paterne;,Brian E Scheffler,Joao Augusto,Antonio Lopez-Montes,Joseph T Onyeka, Lava Kumar P,Ranajit Bandyopadhyay: An EST-SSR based genetic linkage map and identification of QTLs for anthracnose disease resistance in water yam (Dioscorea alata L.). PLoS One 2018.
8. Morales-Hojas R, Hinsley M, Armean IM, Silk R, Harrup LE, Gonzalez-Uriarte A, Veronesi E, Campbell L, Nayduch D, Saski C et al: The genome of the biting midge Culicoides sonorensis and gene expression analyses of vector competence for bluetongue virus. BMC Genomics 2018, 19.
9. Koo DH, Molin WT, Saski CA, Jiang J, Putta K, Jugulam M, Friebe B, Gill BS: Extrachromosomal circular DNA-based amplification and transmission of herbicide resistance in crop weed Amaranthus palmeri. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2018.
10. Fernandez IMA, Saski CA, Manganaris GA, Gasic K, Crisosto CH: Genomic Sequencing of Japanese Plum (Prunus salicina Lindl.) Mutants Provides a New Model for Rosaceae Fruit Ripening Studies. Front Plant Sci 2018, 9:21.
11. Chavan S, Schnabel E, Saski C, Frugoli J: Fixation and Laser Capture Microdissection of Plant Tissue for RNA Extraction and RNASeq Library Preparation. Curr Protoc Plant Biol 2018, 3(1):14-32.
12. Schmidt AM, Sengupta N, Saski CA, Noorai RE, Baldwin WS: RNA sequencing indicates that atrazine induces multiple detoxification genes in Daphnia magna and this is a potential source of its mixture interactions with other chemicals. Chemosphere 2017, 189:699-708.
13. Saski CA, Scheffler BE, Hulse-Kemp AM, Liu B, Song QX, Ando A, Stelly DM, Scheffler JA, Grimwood J, Jones DC et al: Sub genome anchored physical frameworks of the allotetraploid Upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) genome, and an approach toward reference-grade assemblies of polyploids. Sci Rep-Uk 2017, 7.
14. Molin WT, Wright AA, Lawton-Rauh A, Saski CA: The unique genomic landscape surrounding the EPSPS gene in glyphosate resistant Amaranthus palmeri: a repetitive path to resistance. BMC Genomics 2017, 18(1):91.
15. Gowtham YK, Saski CA, Harcum SW: Low Glucose Concentrations within Typical Industrial Operating Conditions Have Minimal Effect on the Transcriptome of Recombinant CHO Cells. Biotechnol Progr 2017, 33(3):771-785.
16. Ferdous F, Saski C, Bridges W, Burns M, Dunn H, Elliott K, Scott TR: Bacterial and Viral Products Affect Differential Pattern Recognition Receptor Activation of Chicken Thrombocytes Evidenced through RNA Sequencing. Journal of Immunology 2017, 199(2):774-781.
17. Chaw RC, Saski CA, Hayashi CY: Complete gene sequence of spider attachment silk protein (PySp1) reveals novel linker regions and extreme repeat homogenization. Insect Biochem Mol Biol 2017, 81:80-90.
18. Ferdous F, Saski C, Bridges W, Burns M, Dunn H, Elliott K, Scott TR: Transcriptome Profile of the Chicken Thrombocyte: New Implications as an Advanced Immune Effector Cell. PLoS One 2016, 11(10).
19. Zhang T, Hu Y, Jiang W, Fang L, Guan X, Chen J, Zhang J, Saski CA, Scheffler BE, Stelly DM et al: Sequencing of allotetraploid cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L. acc. TM-1) provides a resource for fiber improvement. Nat Biotechnol 2015, 33(5):531-537.
20. Wang C, Ulloa M, Shi X, Yuan X, Saski C, Yu JZ, Roberts PA: Sequence composition of BAC clones and SSR markers mapped to Upland cotton chromosomes 11 and 21 targeting resistance to soil-borne pathogens. Front Plant Sci 2015, 6:791.
21. Saski CA, Feltus FA, Parida L, Haiminen N: BAC sequencing using pooled methods. Methods Mol Biol 2015, 1227:55-67.
22. Saski CA, Bhattacharjee R, Scheffler BE, Asiedu R: Genomic Resources for Water Yam (Dioscorea alata L.): Analyses of EST-Sequences, De Novo Sequencing and GBS Libraries. PLoS One 2015, 10(7):e0134031.
23. Nayduch D, Erram D, Lee MB, Zurek L, Saski CA: Impact of the blood meal on humoral immunity and microbiota in the gut of female Culicoides sonorensis. Vet Ital 2015, 51(4):385-392.
24. Livingstone D, Royaert S, Stack C, Mockaitis K, May G, Farmer A, Saski C, Schnell R, Kuhn D, Motamayor JC: Making a chocolate chip: development and evaluation of a 6K SNP array for Theobroma cacao. DNA Res 2015.
25. Kelso AA, Say AF, Sharma D, Ledford LL, Turchick A, Saski CA, King AV, Attaway CC, Temesvari LA, Sehorn MG: Entamoeba histolytica Dmc1 Catalyzes Homologous DNA Pairing and Strand Exchange That Is Stimulated by Calcium and Hop2-Mnd1. PLoS One 2015, 10(9):e0139399.
26. Hulse-Kemp AM, Ashrafi H, Stoffel K, Zheng X, Saski C, Scheffler BE, Fang DD, Chen ZJ, Van Deynze A, Stelly DM: BAC-End Sequence-Based SNP Mining in Allotetraploid Cotton (Gossypium) Utilizing Resequencing Data, Phylogenetic Inferences and Perspectives for Genetic Mapping. G3 (Bethesda) 2015.
27. Bushakra JM, Lewers KS, Staton ME, Zhebentyayeva T, Saski CA: Developing expressed sequence tag libraries and the discovery of simple sequence repeat markers for two species of raspberry (Rubus L.). BMC Plant Biol 2015, 15:258.
28. Pauchet Y, Saski CA, Feltus FA, Luyten I, Quesneville H, Heckel DG: Studying the organization of genes encoding plant cell wall degrading enzymes in Chrysomela tremula provides insights into a leaf beetle genome. Insect Mol Biol 2014.
29. Nayduch D, Lee MB, Saski CA: The Reference Transcriptome of the Adult Female Biting Midge (Culicoides sonorensis) and Differential Gene Expression Profiling during Teneral, Blood, and Sucrose Feeding Conditions. PLoS One 2014, 9(5):e98123.
30. Nayduch D, Cohnstaedt LW, Saski C, Lawson D, Kersey P, Fife M, Carpenter S: Studying Culicoides vectors of BTV in the post-genomic era: Resources, bottlenecks to progress and future directions. Virus Res 2013.
31. Motamayor JC, Mockaitis K, Schmutz J, Haiminen N, Iii DL, Cornejo O, Findley SD, Zheng P, Utro F, Royaert S et al: The genome sequence of the most widely cultivated cacao type and its use to identify candidate genes regulating pod color. Genome Biol 2013, 14(6):r53.
32. Fang GC, Blackmon BP, Staton ME, Nelson CD, Kubisiak TL, Olukolu BA, Henry D, Zhebentyayeva T, Saski CA, Cheng CH et al: A physical map of the Chinese chestnut (Castanea mollissima) genome and its integration with the genetic map. Tree Genet Genomes 2013, 9(2):525-537.
33. Otero NK, Thomas JD, Saski CA, Xia X, Kelly SJ: Choline supplementation and DNA methylation in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex of rats exposed to alcohol during development. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2012, 36(10):1701-1709.
34. McCraney WT, Saski CA, Guyon JR: Isolation and characterization of 12 microsatellites for the commercially important sablefish, Anoplopoma fimbria. Conserv Genet Resour 2012, 4(2):415-417.
35. Kuhn DN, Livingstone D, Main D, Zheng P, Saski C, Feltus FA, Mockaitis K, Farmer AD, May GD, Schnell RJ et al: Identification and mapping of conserved ortholog set (COS) II sequences of cacao and their conversion to SNP markers for marker-assisted selection in Theobroma cacao and comparative genomics studies. Tree Genet Genomes 2012, 8(1):97-111.
36. Ulloa M, Wang C, Hutmacher RB, Wright SD, Davis RM, Saski CA, Roberts PA: Mapping Fusarium wilt race 1 resistance genes in cotton by inheritance, QTL and sequencing composition. Mol Genet Genomics 2011, 286(1):21-36.
37. Schulte D, Ariyadasa R, Shi B, Fleury D, Saski C, Atkins M, deJong P, Wu CC, Graner A, Langridge P et al: BAC library resources for map-based cloning and physical map construction in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). BMC Genomics 2011, 12:247.
38. Saski CA, Li Z, Feltus FA, Luo H: New genomic resources for switchgrass: a BAC library and comparative analysis of homoeologous genomic regions harboring bioenergy traits. BMC Genomics 2011, 12:369.
39. Saski CA, Feltus FA, Staton ME, Blackmon BP, Ficklin SP, Kuhn DN, Schnell RJ, Shapiro H, Motamayor JC: A genetically anchored physical framework for Theobroma cacao cv. Matina 1-6. BMC Genomics 2011, 12:413.
40. Magbanua ZV, Ozkan S, Bartlett BD, Chouvarine P, Saski CA, Liston A, Cronn RC, Nelson CD, Peterson DG: Adventures in the enormous: a 1.8 million clone BAC library for the 21.7 Gb genome of loblolly pine. PLoS One 2011, 6(1):e16214.
41. Jansen RK, Saski C, Lee SB, Hansen AK, Daniell H: Complete plastid genome sequences of three Rosids (Castanea, Prunus, Theobroma): evidence for at least two independent transfers of rpl22 to the nucleus. Mol Biol Evol 2011, 28(1):835-847.
42. Hickner PV, Debruyn B, Lovin DD, Mori A, Saski CA, Severson DW: Enhancing genome investigations in the mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus via BAC library construction and characterization. BMC Res Notes 2011, 4:358.
43. Gschwend AR, Yu Q, Moore P, Saski C, Chen C, Wang J, Na JK, Ming R: Construction of papaya male and female BAC libraries and application in physical mapping of the sex chromosomes. J Biomed Biotechnol 2011, 2011:929472.
44. Feltus FA, Saski CA, Mockaitis K, Haiminen N, Parida L, Smith Z, Ford J, Staton ME, Ficklin SP, Blackmon BP et al: Sequencing of a QTL-rich region of the Theobroma cacao genome using pooled BACs and the identification of trait specific candidate genes. BMC Genomics 2011, 12:379.
45. Wieckhorst S, Bachlava E, Dussle CM, Tang S, Gao W, Saski C, Knapp SJ, Schon CC, Hahn V, Bauer E: Fine mapping of the sunflower resistance locus Pl(ARG) introduced from the wild species Helianthus argophyllus. Theor Appl Genet 2010, 121(8):1633-1644.
46. Munoz-Torres MC, Saski C, Blackmon B, Romero-Severson J, Werren JH: Development of bacterial artificial chromosome library resources for parasitoid Hymenoptera (Nasonia vitripennis and Nasonia giraulti: Pteromalidae). Insect Mol Biol 2010, 19 Suppl 1:181-187.
47. McGovern TM, Keever CC, Saski CA, Hart MW, Marko PB: Divergence genetics analysis reveals historical population genetic processes leading to contrasting phylogeographic patterns in co-distributed species. Mol Ecol 2010, 19(22):5043-5060.
48. Lawniczak MK, Emrich SJ, Holloway AK, Regier AP, Olson M, White B, Redmond S, Fulton L, Appelbaum E, Godfrey J et al: Widespread divergence between incipient Anopheles gambiae species revealed by whole genome sequences. Science 2010, 330(6003):512-514.
49. Fang GC, Blackmon BP, Henry DC, Staton ME, Saski CA, Hodges SA, Tomkins JP, Luo H: Genomic tools development for Aquilegia: construction of a BAC-based physical map. BMC Genomics 2010, 11:621.
50. An J, Bechet A, Berggren A, Brown SK, Bruford MW, Cai Q, Cassel-Lundhagen A, Cezilly F, Chen SL, Cheng W et al: Permanent Genetic Resources added to Molecular Ecology Resources Database 1 October 2009-30 November 2009. Mol Ecol Resour 2010, 10(2):404-408.
51. Zhu S, Saski CA, Boerma HR, Tomkins JP, All JN, Parrott WA: Construction of a BAC Library for a Defoliating Insect-Resistant Soybean and Identification of Candidate Clones Using a Novel Approach. Plant Mol Biol Rep 2009, 27(2):229-235.
52. Cheng W, Guyon JR, Grant WS, Grauvogel Z, Saski C, Templin WD: Characterization of 15 single nucleotide polymorphisms in Alaska red king crab. Mol Ecol Resour 2009, 10:404-408.
53. Lewers KS, Saski CA, Cuthbertson BJ, Henry DC, Staton ME, Main DS, Dhanaraj AL, Rowland LJ, Tomkins JP: A blackberry (Rubus L.) expressed sequence tag library for the development of simple sequence repeat markers. BMC Plant Biol 2008, 8:69.
54. Daniell H, Wurdack KJ, Kanagaraj A, Lee SB, Saski C, Jansen RK: The complete nucleotide sequence of the cassava (Manihot esculenta) chloroplast genome and the evolution of atpF in Malpighiales: RNA editing and multiple losses of a group II intron. Theor Appl Genet 2008, 116(5):723-737.