Jianming Yu is Professor and Pioneer Distinguished Chair in Maize Breeding in the Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University. The focus of Yu’s program is to address significant questions in plant breeding by combining cutting-edge genomic technologies and quantitative genetics theories. He is internationally recognized as a go-to person in the interface of quantitative genetics, genomics, plant breeding, and statistics.
In 2018, Yu’s program developed an integrated framework for gene discovery underlying phenotypic plasticity and performance prediction across environments (PNAS 115:6679-6684). This work was regarded as having the potential to be a landmark paper in genotype-by-environment interaction, phenotypic plasticity, and norm of reaction. In 2016, Yu’s team demonstrated that a comprehensive strategy based on genomic selection and other relevant technologies can be designed to mine the natural heritage stored in numerous gene banks (Nature Plants 2:16150). In 2015, his research team published the first complete case of heterosis due to pseudo-overdominance (PNAS 112:11823-11828). Other significant research contributions include identifying the Shattering1 gene and its homologs underlying the parallel domestication of multiple cereal species (Nature Genetics 44:720-724), quantifying genic and nongenic contributions to quantitative trait variation in maize (Genome Research 22:2436-2444), cloning of the Tan1 gene in sorghum underlying a trait with incomplete domestication (PNAS 109:10281-10286), finding the patterns in DNA base composition divergence (Nucleic Acids Research 43:3614-3625) and chromosome size variation (Molecular Biology and Evolution 28:1901–1911) across multiple species, pioneering genomic selection (GS) research in crops (Crop Science 47:1082-1090), outlining the nested association mapping (NAM) strategy (Genetics 138:539-551), and developing the mixed model method for genome-wide association studies (GWAS) (Nature Genetics 38:203-208). Yu received the Iowa State University Mid-Career Achievement in Research Award in 2017, the Emerging Leaders in Applied Plant Sciences Award from University of Minnesota in 2014, and the Young Crop Scientist Award from Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) in 2010. Yu was elected to Fellow of CSSA in 2018. Yu is a member of Raymond F. Baker Center for Plant Breeding and a Plant Sciences Institute Faculty Scholar.