C. Dana Nelson

Project Leader/Research Geneticist
Department of Forestry, 730 Rose
23332 Success Road
Lexington, KY 40546-0073
Phone: 228-832-2747

Current Research

  • host-pathogen genetics, in particular the genetics of fusiform rust disease on slash and loblolly pines
  • population and quantitative genetics of the southern pines
  • DNA marker development and genome mapping
  • comparative genomics of the southern pines and related conifers


Ph.D. in Forest Genetics, 1988
University of Minnesota
M.S. in Forest Genetics, 1984
Oklahoma State University
B.S. in Forestry, 1982
Iowa State University

Professional Organizations

  • Southern Forest Tree Improvement Committee, Chair (2011—Current)

Featured Publications and Products


Research Highlights

Best Map Yet of the Pine Genome (2014)
SRS-2014-146 Southern pine plantations supply 60 percent of wood products in the United States and 18 percent worldwide. These percentages can increase with better understanding of the gene combinations that make these trees grow well. To make this happen, Forest Service and university scientists worked together to construct the most complete pine tree genetic map so far.
The Forest Health Initiative (2011)
The Forest Health Initiative is a new government-university-industry partnership dedicated to developing workable solutions for improving forest health through the responsible development and application of biotechnology. As a test case, Forest Service researchers are collaborating with several university labs on developing blight resistant American chestnut seedlings.