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Program History



Dr. Seth C. MurraySeth C Murray

Voice: 979.845.3469
Office: 110 Agronomy Field Lab

C.V. in pdf

Statement on Teaching, Research and Service




Dr. Seth C. Murray joined Texas A&M University in 2008 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences where he directs a program that focuses on both quantitative genetic discovery and applied maize breeding. Important traits in his program include improved aflatoxin resistance, drought tolerance, nutrient use efficiency in yellow corn for Texas and the Southern US and the incorporation of novel genetic diversity for perennial corn and blue corn. He has developed statistical techniques for improved genetic mapping of natural variation and to increase understanding of plant genomes. Dr. Murray received a BS in Crop and Soil Sciences at Michigan State University in 2001 where he worked in a sugar-beet genomics lab and co-founded a student organic farm. He received his PhD at Cornell University in 2008 in the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics where he identified regions of the genome (QTL) conditioning energy accumulation and carbohydrate partitioning in sweet and grain sorghums. Currently he is an Associate Editor for Crop Science, Associate Editor for the Journal of Plant Registrations (maize), is on the Executive Committee of the National Association of Plant Breeders, and serves as chair or vice-chair for a number of regional and national scientific meetings. He has/is a committee member for 29 graduate students including 12 as a chair, teaches a graduate level class in “Molecular Quantitative Genetics in Plant Breeding” to PhD students and co-teaches additional classes at the graduate and undergraduate level. Dr. Murray has been an author or co-author on 23 peer reviewed articles, and the PI/co-PI of numerous federal, state, and commodity research grants.

Research Focus
Research website:
My research focuses molecular quantitative genetics as well as applied maize breeding. Identifying and quantifying genetic effects in maize for tolerance and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses, most importantly Aspergillus flavus / aflatoxin resistance and drought and heat tolerance. Introgression of exotic (subtropical, tropical, wild) germplasm into adapted subtropical and temperate germplasm. Development of germplasm with improved grain quality (antioxidents) and processing properties or value-added traits. Development of quantitative genetic models, theories and approaches. QTL mapping for traits of interest using linkage, association, or selection mapping methods and/ or genomic selection. My end goal is to increase the economic and environmental sustainability of agricultural production.

Teaching Focus
My teaching is primarily focused on graduate student training at the M.S. and Ph.D. levels and is closely integrated with my research program. My classroom teaching includes a class for Ph.D. plant breeding students and genetics students, SCSC 643 “Molecular Quantitative Genetics in Plant Breeding” taught every spring. I teach the graduate seminar SCSC 681 for students to present their research every semester. I will also be teaching the undergraduate writing intensive class SCSC 481 “Senior Seminar” in Fall semesters.

Some Courses Taught
SCSC 643. Molecular Quantitative Genetics and Plant Breeding. (3-0). Credit 3. Classical, applied and molecular aspects of quantitative genetics in plant breeding; genetic relationships; genetic diversity; genetic phenomena (linkage, heterosis and epistasis); genotype by environment interaction; mapping quantitative trait loci (QTL); genomic and marker-assisted selection; application of statistical soft­ware. Prerequisites: STAT 651, SCSC 642 or GENE 613; or approval of instructor. Cross-listed with GENE 643.
SCSC 681. Seminar. Credit 1 each semester. For graduate students and staff members in soils and crops; presen­tation and discussion of special topics and research data; participation required of all graduate students in agronomy.
SCSC 481. Senior Seminar. (2-0). Credit 2. Capstone course bringing together student experiences, exams, and exercises necessary for completing and assessing curriculum program learning outcomes. Prerequisite: Senior classification.
SCSC 421/ 621. International Agricultural Research Centers - Mexico. (3-0). Credit 3. International agricultural research; CIMMYT interaction; modern and underdeveloped tropical agricultural systems; introduc­tion to Mexican culture; critical evaluation of complex and international agricultural issues and research programs. Prerequisites: Junior, senior or graduate classification and approval of instructor.




Publications (Likely more up to date in C.V. above )

Refereed journal articles

[1] Hamblin, M.T.*, A.M. Casa, H. Sun, S.C. Murray, A.H. Paterson, C.F. Aquadro, and S. Kresovich. 2006. Challenges of detecting directional selection after a domestication bottleneck: lessons from Sorghum bicolor. Genetics 173(2):953-64
[2] McGrath, J.M.*, D. Trebbi1, R.S. Shaw, A. Fenwick, L. Panella, B. Schultz, V. Laurent, S. Barnes, and S.C.  Murray. 2007. An open-source first-generation molecular genetic map from a sugar X table beet cross and its extension to physical mapping. The Plant Genome, a Suppl. to Crop Sci. 47: S27-S44.
[3] Wisser, R.J., S.C. Murray, J.M. Kolkman, H. Ceballos, and R.J. Nelson*. 2008. Selection mapping of loci for quantitative disease resistance in a diverse maize population. Genetics.180:583 - 599.
[4] Murray, S.C., A. Sharma, W.L. Rooney, P.E. Klein, J.E. Mullet, S.E. Mitchell, and S. Kresovich*. 2008. Genetic improvement of sorghum as a biofuel feedstock I: quantitative loci for stem sugar and grain nonstructural carbohydrates. Crop Science 48:2165-2179.
[5] Murray, S.C., W.L. Rooney, S.E. Mitchell, A. Sharma, P.E. Klein, J.E. Mullet, and S. Kresovich*. 2008. Genetic improvement of sorghum as a biofuel feedstock II: quantitative loci for stem and leaf structural carbohydrates. Crop Science 48:2180-2193.
[6] Murray, S.C., W.L. Rooney, M.T. Hamblin, S.E. Mitchell, and S. Kresovich*. 2009. Sweet sorghum diversity and association mapping for brix and height. The Plant Genome. 2:48-62.
[7] Wang, M.L., C. Zhu, N.A. Barkley, Z. Chen, J.E. Erpelding, S.C. Murray, M.R. Tuinstra, T. Tesso, G.A. Pederson and J. Yu*. 2009. Genetic diversity and population structure analysis of accessions in the US historic sweet sorghum collection. Theor. Appl. Genet. 120:13-23.
[8] Isakeit, T.*, S. Murray, and K. Mayfield. 2010. Efficacy of Afla-Guard (Aspergillus flavus NRRL 21882) to control aflatoxin on corn in Burleson County, Texas, 2009.  Plant Disease Management Reports 4:FC081.
[9] Glover , J. D.*, J. P. Reganold, L. W. Bell, J. Borevitz, E. Buckler, C. M. Cox, T. S. Cox, T. E. Crews, S. W. Culman, T. Day-un, L. R. DeHaan, D. Eriksson, H. Fengyi, B. Gill, J. Holland, B. Hulke, A. Ibrahim, S. Jones, S.C. Murray, E. Ploschuk, E. Sacks, S. Snapp, D. Van Tassel, L. Wade, D. Wyse, and Y. Xu. 2010. Increasing food and ecosystem security on marginal lands through perennial grain breeding. Science. 328:1638-1639.
[10] Isakeit, T.*, S.C. Murray, and K. Mayfield. 2011. Aflatoxin and fumonisin in transgenic corn hybrids in Burleson County, Texas, 2009. Plant Disease Management Reports.
[11] Isakeit, T.*, S.C. Murray, and J.C. Wilborn. 2011. Efficacy of Afla-Guard (Aspergillus flavus NRRL 21882) to control mycotoxins on corn in Burleson County, Texas, 2010. Plant Disease Management Reports.
[12] Mayfield, K.L., S.C. Murray*, W.L. Rooney, T. Isakeit, and G.A. Odvody. 2011. Confirmation of QTL reducing aflatoxin in maize testcrosses. Crop Science. 51:2489-2498.
[13] Boote, K.J., A.M.H. Ibrahim, R. Lafitte, R. McCulley, C. Messina, S.C. Murray, J.E. Specht, S. Taylor, M.E. Westgate, K. Glasener, C.G. Bijl*, and J.H. Giese. 2011. Position statement on crop adaptation to climate change. Crop Science 51:2337–2343.
[14] Brummer, E.C., W.T. Barber, S. Collier, T.S. Cox, R. Johnson, S.C. Murray*, R.T. Olsen, R.C. Pratt, and A.M. Thro. 2011. Plant breeding for harmony between agriculture and the environment. Frontiers of Ecology and the Environment. 9(10): 561–568.
[15] Mayfield, K., F.J. Betrán, T. Isakeit, G. Odvody, S.C. Murray*, W.L. Rooney, and J.C. Landivar. 2012. Registration of maize germplasm lines Tx736, Tx739, Tx740, for reducing preharvest aflatoxin accumulations. Journal of Plant Registrations. 6:88–94.
[16] Meeks M., S.C. Murray*, S. Hague, D. Hays, and A. Ibrahim. 2012. Genetic variation for maize epicuticular wax response to drought stress at flowering. Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science. 198:161–244.
[17] Felderhoff, T., S.C. Murray, P.E. Klein, A. Sharma, M.T. Hamblin, S. Kresovich, W. Vermerris , and W.L. Rooney*. 2012. QTLs for energy-related traits in a sweet × grain dorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] mapping population. Crop Science 52:2040–2049.
[18] Washburn, J.D., S.C. Murray, B.L. Burson, R.R. Klein, R.W. Jessup*. 2012. Targeted mapping of QTL regions for rhizomatousness in Chr 1 and analysis of overwintering in a Sorghum bicolor x S. propinquum population. Molecular Breeding. DOI: 10.1007/s11032-012-9778-8.
[19] Henry, W.B.*, D.E. Rowe, G.L. Windham, M.H. Blanco, S.C. Murray, and W.P. Williams. 2012. Diallel analysis of diverse maize germplasm lines for resistance to aflatoxin accumulation. Crop Science. 53:1-9.
[20] De La Fuente, G.N, S.C. Murray*, T.Isakeit, Y.-S. Park, Y. Yan, M. Warburton and M.V. Kolomiets. 2013. Characterization of Genetic Diversity and Linkage Disequilibrium of ZmLOX4 and ZmLOX5 Loci in Maize. PLoS ONE 8(1): e53973. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053973
[21] Mahan, A.L. S.C. Murray*, L.W. Rooney, and K.M. Crosby. 2013. Diallel mating to determine combining ability for important economic, agronomic, and compositional traits in a diverse set of colored (red, blue, purple) maize. Crop Science. In Press
[22] Washburn, J.D., D.K. Whitmire, , S.C. Murray, B.L. Burson, T.A. Wickersham, J.J. Heitholt, R.W. Jessup*. 2013 Estimation of rhizome composition and over-wintering ability in perennial Sorghum spp. using near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). BioEnergy Research. DOI 10.1007/s12155-013-9305-8.
[23] Meeks M., S.C. Murray*, S. Hague, and D. Hays. 2013. Measuring maize seedling drought response in search of tolerant germplasm. Agronomy 3(1):135-147.
[24] Isakeit T., S. Murray, J. Savage, and R. McHugh. 2013. Aflatoxin and fumonisin in transgenic corn hybrids in Burleson County, Texas, 2012. Plant Disease Management Reports 7:FC030
[25] Barerro, I.D.F., S.C. Murray*, D. Pietsch, and S. Labar. 2013. A multi-environment trial analysis of commercial maize shows a slight grain yield improvement in Texas. Field Crops Research. 149:167-176.
[26] Warburton, M.L.*, W.P. Williams, G.Windham, S.C. Murray, W. Xu, L. Hawkins, and J. Franco. (accepted). Phenotypic and genetic characterization of a maize association mapping panel 1 developed for the identification of new sources of resistance to Aspergillus flavus and aflatoxin accumulation. Crop Science.
[27] Murray, S.C.*, P. Eckhoff, L. Wood, and A.H. Paterson. (accepted). Toward Rapid Genetic Advancement in Agricultural Species via Cycling of Gametes in Vitro. Nature Biotechnology.

Book Chapters

[28] Murray, S.C.* 2012. Differentiation of seed, sugar, and biomass-producing genotypes in Saccharinae species. In A.H. Paterson (ed.) Genetics and Genomics of the Saccharinae. Springer. p. 479-502.
[29] De La Fuente, G.N, I. Barrero, S.C. Murray*, T. Isakeit, M.V. Kolomiets. (accepted) Improving Maize Production Under Drought Stress: Traits, Screening Methods, and Environments. In M. Pessarakli (ed.) Handbook of Plant and Crop Stress. Taylor & Francis.
[30] Murray, S.C.*, R.J. Wisser. (accepted). Genetic inference on quantitative traits through linkage and association studies. In R. Wusirika, M. Bohn, J. Lai  (eds.) Genetics, Genomics and Breeding of Maize. Science Publishers (An Imprint of CRC Press/ Taylor & Francis Group).

Extension publications

[31] Pietsch D.*, J.M. Blumenthal, S. Labar, K.L. Mayfield, and S. Murray. 2009. Corn Performance Tests in Texas. Texas AgriLife SCS-2009-18.
[32] Pietsch D.*, J.M. Blumenthal, S. Labar, and S. Murray. 2010. Corn Performance Tests in Texas. Texas AgriLife SCS-2010-10.
[33] Pietsch D.*, J.M. Blumenthal, S. Labar, and S. Murray. 2011. Corn Performance Tests in Texas. Texas AgriLife SCS-2011-11.
[34] Pietsch, D., O. Arthur, K. Horn, R. Schnell, and S.C. Murray, 2012 Corn Performance Tests in Texas. Texas AgriLife Research publication SCS-2012-13.





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