Since the beginning of agriculture, some 10,000 years ago,
humans have molded the diversity of crop plants around them to suit their
diverse needs for food and beverage, feed, clothing and other numerous uses.
Starting with the process of domestication, crop biodiversity results from
the fascinating interactions among humans, plants, and their environment.
My research and teaching program is focused on elucidating the evolutionary
processes that have shaped evolution of crop plants under cultivation. I focus
particularly on Phaseolus beans because they are such an important part of
the human diet, especially in developing countries, and provide many health
On the more applied level, I look at the consequences of our findings for plant breeding. One of my main activities is a participation in the ABC-KT project (i.e., African Bean Consortium, funded by the Kirkhouse Trust), which seeks to develop a marker-assisted selection capability in East African bean breeding programs.
Since January 2012, I am leading the UC Davis bean breeding program, with the responsibility of producing new varieties of lima bean, garbanzos, and common bean, in partnership with and support of the California Dry-Bean Advisory Board.
What does UC Davis mean to California? (pdf) In the field of plant breeding, most crop varieties in the state are UC varieties. Check the list of varieties and the breeding programs (pdf) that produced them and a historic gallery of UCD plant breeders.
2012 Gepts P, Famula TR, Bettinger RL, Brush SB,
Contact information: Paul Gepts