Paul Gepts

Paul Gepts

Position Title
Distinguished Professor

  • Faculty
1242 PES
UC Davis, 1 Shields Ave, Davis CA 95616


  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison; Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics, 1984
  • Ingénieur Agronome, Agro-Biotech Gembloux (Université de Liège, Belgium); Défense des Végétaux, 1976
  • Postdoc, University of California, Riverside; Molecular Evolution, 1987

Research interests and expertise: 

The main thrust of my research, teaching, and outreach program is the study of crop agrobiodiversity for the purposes of conservation and application to breeding programs. The main crops studied are Phaseolus beans (black, pinto, kidney, yellow beans, etc.). Central to these activities are the processes preceding, accompanying, or following the domestication of crops as these play a major role in the organization of genetic diversity. In turn, this information is applied to bean breeding programs in California and East Africa.

Current projects: 

  • California Dry Bean Advisory Board: Lima bean and garbanzo breeding
  • USDA-NIFA-AFRI: Genomic recombination landscape of common bean in relation to drought- and heat-tolerance and other traits of agronomic importance
  • Kirkhouse Trust (UK): African Bean Consortium - Research activities at UC Davis in support of the ABC breeding programs for multiple disease resistances
  • ERA-CAPS/NSF: Evolution in a changing environment: the genetic architecture of adaptation outside centers of domestication of Phaseolus vulgaris and P. coccineus.

Current teaching: 

  • Evolution of Crop Plants; PLB 143 (spring quarter)
  • Plant Genetics; PLS 152 (as needed)
  • Plants for People, Freshman Seminar; FRS 004 (occasionally)

External activities that contribute to scholarship:

  • Associate Editor, Frontiers in Plant Science
  • Associate Editor, Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution
  • Scientific Coordinator, African Bean Consortium

Prizes, Awards, Honors:

  • Chancellors Award for International Engagement at UCD, 2018
  • Agropolis Louis Malassis Prize (Montpellier, France): Distinguished Scientist, 2017
  • International Scientific Prize for Agriculture and Food, 2017
  • Frank N. Meyer Medal for Plant Genetic Resources, Crop Science Society of America, 2015
  • Calvin Sperling Biodiversity Memorial Lectureship, Crop Science Society of America, 2014
  • B.Y. Morrison Award, USDA-ARS and American Society for Horticultural Science, 2013
  • Fellow, Crop Science Society of America, 2005
  • Fellow, American Society of Agronomy, 2003
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2000-2001

Google Scholar


Social media links: 


  • Phaseolus
  • Bean
  • Domestication
  • Crop evolution
  • Biodiversity
  • Genomics
  • Botanical exploration
  • Genetics
  • Breeding
  • Phylogeny
  • Molecular
  • Capsicum
  • Latin America
  • East Africa
  • Mexico
  • Brazil
  • Argentina
  • Colombia