Jim Myers

Professor, Vegetable Breeding and Genetics
james.myers [at] oregonstate.edu

Office: 541-737-3083

We develop improved vegetable varieties with the main focus being to support gardeners, growers and processors in the Pacific Northwest (PNW).  This region of the United States has a unique growing environment, and varieties developed elsewhere may not necessarily be optimally adapted to the PNW. We have breeding programs on snap beans, snap peas, broccoli, tomatoes and cucurbits. My academic interests include breeding for disease resistance, enhanced human nutrition, and adaptation to organic production systems. We use a combination of traditional plant breeding techniques combined with genomics and bioinformatics tools.

  • Breeding and trialing vegetable varieties for organic systems.
  • Increase the availability of organically produced vegetable seed by identifying and breeding varieties adapted to organic systems.
  • Engaging farmers and chefs in the breeding process through participatory plant breeding.
  • Breeding vegetables for improved human health, taste and quality.
  • Evaluating and selecting for disease resistance in vegetable crops.

Most Significant Service, Professional Activities, and Accomplishments (since 1988)

  • I have developed and released 13 dry bean, one green bean, and four tomato cultivars. One tomato cultivar (co-released with Dr. J.R. Baggett) is ‘Legend’, an early, large fruited, parthenocarpic, determinate slicer with late blight resistance.
  • My graduate students and I were the first to create high anthocyanin tomatoes using conventional breeding approaches. The first release of this kind – ‘Indigo Rose’ has been available in the U.S. since 2012 and is now moving into global markets. ‘Indigo Cherry Drops’ and Indigo Pear Drops” are two new Indigo cultivars that have been released and more are in the pipeline.
  • The green bean cultivar, OSU 5630, is the predominant bush blue lake green bean grown by Oregon processors on about 13,000 acres each year.
  • The green bean cultivar, OSU 5630, is the predominant bush blue lake green bean grown by Oregon processors on about 13,000 acres each year.
  • I am project director for the Northern Organic Vegetable Improvement Collaborative II (NOVIC II), a USDA-NIFA-OREI funded project to breed and trial vegetable varieties adapted to organic production systems across the northern U.S. The project uses a farmer participatory research model through techniques such as mother-daughter trials. NOVIC II follows the original four-year NOVIC program.
  • I have been working on dry bean genetic improvement projects in Eastern and Southern Africa for more than 27 years. Current efforts involve working with researchers at Sokoine University of Agricuture in Morogoro Tanzania to incorporate resistance to bean seed weevils (bruchids) into African adapted dry bean cultivars. The effort is supported by McKnight. This form of resistance was originally transferred from wild tepary bean into common bean with support from the US-AID funded Bean/Cowpea CRSP.

Grants and Program Support

  • My support total at OSU (1996-2015) has been $2,114.55 in noncompetitive funds and $6,954.01 (my portion only) in competitive peer reviewed grants.
  • My program is supported by the Baggett-Frazier endowment established by the Oregon processed vegetable industry.

Profile Field Tabs

Affiliated with: 
Do you accept grad students?: 
I accept graduate students for Horticulture
Courses Taught: 
  • Hort 433/533, Systematics and Adaptations of Vegetable Crops, offered fall term.
  • Hort 599, Crop Domestication, offered spring of odd numbered years.
  • Hort 599, Plants and Patents, offered spring of even numbered years.
  • I have provided guest lectures on organic plant breeding, intellectual property issues and plant biotechnology, breeding beans and broccoli, and vegetables and grain legumes of the world.

Extended Education
I provide talks to growers, and master gardener meetings upon invitation. Selected examples of recent invited presentations include:

Graduate Students Advised (since 1996)

  • Major Professor or co-Advisor to 10 Ph.D., 13 M.S. and 1 M.Ag. students (2 M.S. and 2 Ph.D. in progress)
  • Committee Member for 7 Ph.D., 7 M.S., and 1 M.Ag. students
  • External Examiner for three students (2 Ph.D., 1 M.S.; Canada and Malawi)

Undergraduate Students Directed Research (since 1996)

  • 22 students (18 senior thesis, 4 honors college) at OSU.

Postgraduate training

  • 2 post-graduate scholars (supported by Borlaug Fellowship Program, and UNESCO Biotechnology Program)
My Publications
Proceedings and Conference Presentations: 
  • American Society of Horticultural Science meetings
  • Bean Improvement Cooperative
  • Crop Science Society of America
  • Crucifer Crop Germplasm Committee
  • North American Pulse Improvement Association
  • North Willamette Processed Vegetable Grower meetings
  • Pacific Northwest Vegetable Growers Association
  • Phaseolus Crop Germplasm Committee
  • Pisum Crop Germplasm Committee
  • Seeds and Breeds for the 21st Century
  • W-3150 Genetic Improvement of Beans