The Aroma Hops Breeding at OSU is funded primarily through a gift from Indie Hops. The program's goal is to develop new aroma hop cultivars, adapted for Oregon growing conditions, that are suitable for the craft beer industry. The program was started in early 2010 and currently has a number of hop genotypes in various stages of development. Traits that we focus on for hop improvement include downy and powdery mildew resistance, insect resistance, cone chemical profile, yield, and various other agronomic characteristics.
Hop improvement is a long-term endeavor. Due to the significant amount of testing involved, development time for a new hop cultivar can easily surpass 10 years. In an effort to shorten the development cycle, we are evaluating new selection strategies to more efficiently identify and select superior genotypes.
Other areas of research that we are involved in include mutation breeding to increase the genetic variation in our breeding stock, and adapting mixed model approaches for predicting progeny performance, assist with parent selection, and to study inheritance and co-inheritance patterns for traits of economic interest. Some of our publications are available here.