Portrait of Joann Conner
Mailing Address Tifton, CAES Campus 2360 Rainwater Road, Tifton, GA 31793-5766

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Portrait of Joann Conner

UGA Tifton Campus
Office: NESPAL
Laboratory: NESPAL

Joann Conner is an Associate Research Scientist who has been researching various topics of apomixis for twenty years. Her research goal remains to identify the genetic components responsible for apomixis in natural species and to transfer this mechanism into crop species. Her expertise in plant reproduction is well recognized having been involved in research on Brassica self-incompatibility and Arabidopsis transcription factor expression during flower development that led to publications in The Plant Cell, The Plant Journal, and PNAS. Particularly notable is her work in female reproduction and apomixis (i.e., asexual reproduction without fertilization). She has published ground-breaking research in the field of apomixis. Her knowledge and skills were central to the discovery, cloning, and functional analysis of the first gene involved in natural apomictic reproduction, the ASGR-BABY BOOM-like gene for parthenogenesis from Pennisetum squamulatum, an apomictic grass related to the cereal pearl millet. Functional validation extended from the observation of parthenogenesis in sexual pearl millet to rice and maize, the two most widely grown cereal crops. The discovery provided impacts for the installation of apomixis in crop plants, and for doubled haploid breeding in crops where genetic tools for this method are not otherwise available.


  • 95% Research
  • 5% Service


  • B.S. Biology, University of Scranton, 1991
  • Ph.D. Plant Biology, Cornell University, 1997