Research Interests: My program focuses on improving sweet corn by breeding and the discovery of genetic information that will be useful for sweet corn improvement. I direct a sweet corn breeding program that generates commercially useful inbreds and hybrids. In the breeding program we make extensive use of tropical and other non-sweet germplasm. Our genetic research centers on three areas 1. The relationship between the development of the maize plant and pest resistance. 2. Endosperm mutants and their effects on quality, germination, and cold tolerance. 3. Phylogenetics and evolution of sweet corn. A fourth area of research involves participatory breeding and on farm research for organic crop production.
Undergraduate instruction and advising in agronomy; Agron. 100- “Principles and Practices of Crop Production”, Agron 375- “Organic Crop Production”, Agron 875- “Corn Integrated Curriculum”. Undergraduate advising in biology. Graduate instruction and advising in plant breeding and plant genetics. K-12 science education. Outreach and continuing education in crop production, plant genetics, and the interaction between agriculture and society.
Feeding the World Today and Tomorrow: The Importance of Food Science and Technology. John D. Floros, Rosetta Newsome, William Fisher, Gustavo V. Barbosa-C´anovas, Hongda Chen, C. Patrick Dunne, J. Bruce German, Richard L. Hall, Dennis R. Heldman, Mukund V. Karwe, Stephen J. Knabel, Theodore P. Labuza, Daryl B. Lund, Martina Newell-McGloughlin, James L. Robinson, Joseph G. Sebranek, Robert L. Shewfelt, William F. Tracy, Connie M. Weaver, and Gregory R. Ziegler. 2010 Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. Vol. 9, 2010. doi 10.1111/j.1541-4337.2010.00127.x
Vegetative phase change characteristics and resistance to common rust of corn cultivars developed in different eras. Riedeman, E. S., and W. F. Tracy. 2010. Crop Sci 2010;50 87-92.
Divergent selection for vegetative phase change in maize and indirect effects on response to Puccinia sorghi. Basso, C.F., M.M. Hurkman, E.S. Riedeman, and W.F. Tracy. 2008. Crop Science 48:992-999.
Divergent recurrent selection for vegetative phase change and effects on agronomic traits and corn borer resistance. Riedeman, ES, MA Chandler, WF Tracy. 2008. Crop Sci. 48: 1723-1731.
Technology, complexity and change in agricultural production systems. Sassenrath, G.F., P. Heilman, E. Luschei, G.L. Bennett, G. Fitzgerald, P. Klesius, W. Tracy, J.R. Williford, and P.V. Zimba. 2008. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems: 23(2); 1–11.
Identification of Genomic Regions Affecting Vegetative Phase Change in a Sweet Corn (Zea mays L.) Population. Chandler, M. A. and W. F. Tracy. 2007. Maydica 57:407-414.