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Department of Horticultural Science

Randolph G. Gardner, Ph.D.

Tomato Breeder and Professor Emeritus
Horticultural Science

Randy Gardner
Randy Gardner Profile

Fresh Market Tomato Home | Cultivars & Breeding Lines | Seed Lines | Trial Data
Tomato Production
| Publications | D R Panthee | R G Gardner | MHCR&EC Home

Breeding of Improved Tomato Cultivars (Large-fruited, Roma, Grape, Cherry)
with Multiple Disease Resistance and High Fruit Quality

Educational and Professional History

July 1, 2008–Present, Professor Emeritus, NC State University
1991-June 30, 2008, Professor at NC State University
1982-1991, Associate Professor at NC State University
1976-1982, Assistant Professor at NC State University
1973-1976, Ph.D. in Pomology from Cornell University
1970-1972, M.S. in Horticulture from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
1965-1969, B.S. in Horticulture from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Program Emphasis


The fresh-market tomato breeding program emphasizes the development of improved, disease resistant cultivars adapted to production in North Carolina and surrounding areas. Currently, emphasis is on combining early and late blight resistances, Fusarium wilt race 3, and tomato spotted wilt virus resistance into superior tomato breeding lines and hybrids. In terms of horticultural traits, breeding is for earliness, large fruit size, firmness, color, flavor, smoothness, crack resistance, shelf life (rin and nor genes), and high temperature fruit set. Combinations of quality features and disease resistance are sought in a variety of types (large-fruited, Roma, cherry, grape) and in red and yellow fruit colors. Male sterility is being incorporated into desirable backgrounds to facilitate hybrid seed production.


Breeding will continue toward further improving fruit quality and disease resistance in breeding lines and cultivars. Molecular markers will be used where available to assist in selection for desired genes.

Projected Impact

Tomato growers will be able to sustain and, hopefully, increase production and profitability as a result of growing improved cultivars. Consumers will benefit from improvements in fruit quality and diversity in types of fresh-market tomatoes. Advancement of disease resistance genes from wild backgrounds into cultivated types will benefit tomato production and cultivar development worldwide.

Cultivars and Breeding Lines Released

Numerous named cultivars and breeding lines have been released from the program. Descriptions of the releases are available by mail on request. Also, descriptions area available in the HortScience articles listed below in the publications section. Most of the named cultivars have been released on an exclusive basis to a single seed company for seed production and sales. Royalties from seed sales come back to NC State University with a portion being used to support the breeding program.

Trial samples of all cultivars and breeding lines are available at no charge to interested tomato breeders. Breeding lines released in recent years require completion of a Seed Transfer Agreement prior to seed being sent. Other lines are available on request without a written agreement. However, many of the lines require a Parental Use Agreement, with royalties paid, for use as parents in hybrids for commercial seed production and sales.

The program cooperates with public and private breeders worldwide.

NCSU Cultivars and Breeding Lines
Replicated Trial Yield Data

Selected Publications

Awards and Honors

In the News

Randolph G. Gardner, Ph.D.
Mountain Horticultural Crops Research & Extension Center
455 Research Drive
Mills River, NC 28759
Phone: 828.684.3562 ~ Fax: 828.684.8715


R. Gardner playing in the field

Web Crafter: Anne S. Napier
Updated June 25, 2014