The challenge

Breeders may know which traits are preferred by farmers, but often times there is a disconnect between breeding for market demand and what crop biology can produce. Translating farmer preferences into biologically feasible product concepts is challenging without a thorough framework. Trait discovery has the potential to maximize the likelihood of success for NARIs in new crop varietal development.

Our approach

We take an interdisciplinary approach that sets us apart. Our trait discovery team works with other plant and social sciences disciplines as an integrated network of support, which spans the various demands of the product development lifecycle. By forming linkages between previously siloed disciplines, we aim to develop tools that can enhance and scale capacity for national breeding programs. Our trait discovery team helps NARIs develop breeding product profiles through rigorous goal setting, hypothesis testing and biological feasibility.

“Trait discovery integrates both end user demand with biological feasibility. Doing so improves the chances of successfully breeding for traits of interest.”

Geoffry MorrisTrait discovery lead

Recent highlights


This applied scientific method approach is being applied in Centers of Innovation and Quick Wins

Framework for trait discovery

A theoretical platform for Centers of Innovation to iterate their goals


Helping Centers of Innovation identify and address gaps in trait discovery through capacity building

Research from our experts

  • GoHy ACT Webapp will train scientists on the scientific method and how to best apply it to their crop improvement programs
  • Framework for trait discovery as a theoretical platform for Centers of Innovation to iterate, plan and execute goals
  • Trait package concept, which includes developing a trait map, trait marker and trait donors
  • Moving from “Seed bank-to-Seed Bag,” which involves identifying trait exotic material, identifying trait genetics and trait pre-breeding

The trait discovery team

Geoffrey Morris

Trait discovery lead

Alex Kena

Alexander Kena

Trait discovery research scientist

Clara Cruet-Burgos

Postdoctoral researcher