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C. Dana Nelson

Project Leader
Forest Genetics & Biological Foundations
University of Kentucky
TP Cooper Bldg., 730 Rose St.
Lexington, KY 40546-0073
United States
Current Research
  • host-pathogen genetics, in particular the genetics of fusiform rust disease on slash and loblolly pines
  • population and quantitative genetics of the southern pines
  • DNA marker development and genome mapping
  • comparative genomics of the southern pines and related conifers
  • University of Minnesota, Ph.D., Forest Genetics, 1988
  • Oklahoma State University, M.S., Forest Genetics, 1984
  • Iowa State University, B.S., Forestry, 1982
Professional Organizations
  • Chair,  Southern Forest Tree Improvement Committee,  2011 - Current
    SRS representative and currently the committee's chair.
Featured Publications
Other Publications
Research Highlights

Early Transfer of DNA from Insects to Pines

Year: 2016
Repetitive DNA sequences move across species boundaries relatively often, but rarely occur between kingdoms; however, Forest Service scientists and partners have identified and characterized such a transfer between insects and conifers and determined that it occurred about 340 million years ago. The...

Shortleaf pine genetics, hybridization, and restoration

Year: 2017
Shortleaf pine is a priority species for restoration in the eastern U.S. Understanding the genetics of the species is important for restoration planning and implementation, as recent genetics work has shown increased rates of shortleaf- loblolly pine hybridization as a potential restoration issue. D...

The Forest Health Initiative

Year: 2011
The Forest Health Initiative is a new government-university-industry partnership dedicated to developing workable solutions for improving forest health through the responsible development and application of biotechnology. As a test case, Forest Service researchers are collaborating with several univ...

Best Map Yet of the Pine Genome

Year: 2014
Southern pine plantations supply 60 percent of wood products in the United States and 18 percent worldwide. These percentages can increase with better understanding of the gene combinations that make these trees grow well. To make this happen, Forest Service and university scientists worked together...

Identification of Fusiform Rust Resistance Genes in loblolly Pine

Year: 2015
Knowledge of rust resistance genes provides tree breeders and forest managers with efficient tools for minimizing losses to fusiform rust, a fungal disease that causes millions of dollars of damage to southern pine plantations each year. Forest Service researchers are identifying protective genes an...

Frequent Fire Maintains Shortleaf Pine as a Distinct Species

Year: 2015
Fire effectively selects against loblolly pine genes in mixed stands of loblolly and shortleaf pines and appears to be required to maintain the integrity of shortleaf pine as a species.