Iago Hale

Phone: (603) 862-4653
Office: Agriculture, Nutrition, & Food Systems, Rudman Hall Rm 385, Durham, NH 03824

I am interested in the characterization, maintenance, and utilization of crop genetic diversity as means of enhancing small farm viability, rural livelihoods, food security, and ecosystem integrity. This is to say that my work in the fields of plant genetics and breeding (traditional and molecular) stems not from a basic but a decidedly applied research interest with significant socioeconomic and ecological implications. For me, crop improvement is fundamentally about increasing the options available to both growers and consumers within a context of dynamic market forces, increasing land-use pressures, and uncertain environmental factors.

Motivated by this larger framework, the research objectives of my integrated plant breeding and plant molecular genetics/genomics program are: 1) To increase agricultural opportunities in New England by developing and providing improved germplasm to producers; 2) To develop molecular markers and genetic resources to support my breeding work and that of the larger plant improvement community, particularly in developing countries; and 3) To contribute to our understanding of the genetic bases of key traits at various scales, from individual plants (e.g. disease resistance) to whole farm systems (e.g. weed suppression) to landscapes (e.g. nutrient uptake).

In the field, classical breeding methods remain necessary for the practical development and delivery of improved plant varieties. In the lab, trait dissection, gene mapping, gene characterization, and molecular marker development can provide valuable information and support to breeding efforts. The integration of these field and lab components in one program insures that my basic genetic research stays consistently grounded in real-world production and is pursued with a firm commitment toward deployment.

A variety of research opportunities for students are available in my lab (http://www.unh.edu/halelab); please contact me if you are interested in learning more.


  • Ph.D., Horticultural and Agronomy, University of California - Davis
  • M.S., : International Agricultural Development, University of California - Davis
  • B.A., Religion, Dartmouth College
  • B.A., Physics, Dartmouth College

Courses Taught

  • BIOL 933: Experimental Design/Analysis
  • BIOL 997: Graduate Seminar in Biology
  • GEN 999: Doctoral Research
  • PBIO 725: Marine Ecology
  • PBIO 985: AdvTop/Plant Breeding/Genetics
  • SAFS 733: Advanced Topics in SAFS

Selected Publications

Melo, A. T. O., & Hale, I. (2019). ‘apparent’: a simple and flexible R package for accurate SNP-based parentage analysis in the absence of guiding information. BMC Bioinformatics, 20(1). doi:10.1186/s12859-019-2662-3

Vance, A. J., & Strik, B. C. (2018). Seasonal changes in leaf nutrient concentration of male and female hardy kiwifruit grown in Oregon. European Journal of Horticultural Science, 83(4), 247-258. doi:10.17660/ejhs.2018/83.4.5

Bartaula, R., Melo, A. T. O., Connolly, B. A., Jin, Y., & Hale, I. (2018). An interspecific barberry hybrid enables genetic dissection of non-host resistance to the stem rust pathogen Puccinia graminis. Journal of Experimental Botany, 69(10), 2483-2493. doi:10.1093/jxb/ery066

Strassel, L. H., Connolly, B. A., Bartaula, R., & Hale, I. (2018). Occurrence of Knotweed Hybrid, Fallopia × bohemica (Polygonaceae) in New Hampshire. Rhodora, 120(981), 87-88. doi:10.3119/17-10

Avni, R., Nave, M., Barad, O., Baruch, K., Twardziok, S. O., Gundlach, H., . . . Distelfeld, A. (2017). Wild emmer genome architecture and diversity elucidate wheat evolution and domestication. Science, 357(6346), 93-97. doi:10.1126/science.aan0032

Melo, A. T. O., Bartaula, R., & Hale, I. (2016). GBS-SNP-CROP: a reference-optional pipeline for SNP discovery and plant germplasm characterization using variable length, paired-end genotyping-by-sequencing data. BMC Bioinformatics, 17(1). doi:10.1186/s12859-016-0879-y

Hale, I. L., Mamuya, I., & Singh, D. (2013). Sr31-Virulent Races (TTKSK, TTKST, and TTTSK) of the Wheat Stem Rust Pathogen Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici are Present in Tanzania. Plant Disease, 97(4), 557. doi:10.1094/pdis-06-12-0604-pdn

Olson, E. L., Brown-Guedira, G., Marshall, D. S., Jin, Y., Mergoum, M., Lowe, I., & Dubcovsky, J. (2010). Genotyping of U.S. Wheat Germplasm for Presence of Stem Rust Resistance Genes , and. Crop Science, 50(2), 668. doi:10.2135/cropsci2009.04.0218

Hale, I. L., Broders, K., & Iriarte, G. (n.d.). A Vavilovian approach to discovering crop-associated microbes with potential to enhance plant immunity. Frontiers in Plant Science, 5. doi:10.3389/fpls.2014.00492

Hale, I., Wollheim, W., Smith, R., Asbjornsen, H., Brito, A., Broders, K., . . . Rowe, R. (n.d.). A Scale-Explicit Framework for Conceptualizing the Environmental Impacts of Agricultural Land Use Changes. Sustainability, 6(12), 8432-8451. doi:10.3390/su6128432

Most Cited Publications