US Forest Service Research & Development
Contact Information
  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Richard Cronn

Richard Cronn

Research Geneticist
3200 SW Jefferson Way
United States

Phone: 541-750-7291
Fax: 541-750-7329
Contact Richard Cronn

Current Research

  • Defining daily, seasonal and annual changes in gene expression in long-lived perennials (Douglas-fir Transcriptome Observatory; Fragaria polyploids).
  • Linking spatial genetic differentiation in Port-Orford Cedar and Yellow Cedar to migration, climatic and selective pressure from pathogens.
  • Developing genetic markers for domestic and international trees, plants and animals of management concern.
  • Adopting new genomics technologies for applications in forest management.

Research Interests

  • studying the genetic basis of adaptation through the integration of gene expression and quantitative variation.
  • studying the population and evolutionary genetic history of North American members of the pine family.
  • defining patterns of neutral and adaptive differentiation as a foundation for understanding quantitative variation in restoration plant species.

Past Research

  • population and evolutionary genetics of wild cottons
  • gene evolution and gene expression in polyploid plant genomes
  • biochemistry of antiretroviral agents targeting immune deficiency viruses

Why This Research is Important

Genes -- the DNA codes present in all living organisms -- are the basis of adaptive traits that make species resilient to a changing climate and an array of diseases. The genes of plants are poorly understood, and this is especially true for genes that help plants adapt to changes in seasonal and annual weather. This research applies new genomics methods to address a fundamental question: What genes do plants use to sense seasonal changes in light quality, temperature, and water availability? By defining genes that have a large impact on growth and health, we can use this information to guide breeding methods and plant selections that result in broadly adapted trees that contribute to resilient forest communities.

The same genomics approaches used for identifying adaptive genomic variation can also be used to identify the species and geographic source of plant products, such as wood and wood products. We are using these approaches to define taxonomically- and spatially-informative genetic markers that can be used to track and manage products from economically and ecologically important forest trees.  


  • Iowa State University, Ph.D. Genetics Evolutionary and population genetics 1997

Featured Publications & Products


Research Highlights


A Climate Adaptation Strategy for Conservation and Management of Yellow-Cedar in Alaska

A new report assesss past, current, and expected future condition of yellow-cedar forests on all land ownerships where yellow-cedar grows in Ala ...


Combatting illegal logging with technology

Chemical fingerprints can determine the geographic origin of wood.


Genetic Analysis Shows the Scale and Pattern of Spatial Genetic Variation in Yellow-Cedar

Genetic analysis shows that yellow-cedar is a diverse and highly mobile species.


Genetic studies reveal population structure of fisher predate management

This research is being used to aid management decisions about whether these populations warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act. Sci ...


Invisible eDNA Reveals Stream and Riparian Ecosystem Biodiversity

Environmental DNA is a powerful new approach that, with a single water sample, can detect a host of stream and riparian species—from pathogens ...


New genome sequencing method reveals a species evolutionary history

Organelle genomes from plants, animals, and fungi are used as genetic markers to track maternal diversity, historical migration, and maternally ...


Last updated on : 01/14/2021