Photo of Charles ChenCharles P. Chen

Associate Professor — Peanut Breeding, Genetics and Genomics

Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences


2002 Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Plant Breeding and Genetics)
1990 M.S., The Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences
1984 B.S., China Agricultural University (former Beijing Agricultural University)


2012-present Associate Professor, Auburn University
2007-2011 Research Geneticist and Lead Scientist, USDA-ARS, Dawson, GA
2002-2006 Senior Research Associate, Michigan State University
1997-2001 Graduate Research Assistant, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
1984-1996 Assistant Curator of Chinese Soybean Germplasm Collection, CAAS, Beijing


  • Excellent B.S. Thesis Award, Beijing Agricultural University, 1984.
  • Science & Technology Advancement Award, 3rd Prize, the Ministry of Agriculture of China, 1990.
  • Excellent Research Paper Award, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, 1991.
  • National Science & Technology Advancement Award, 2nd Prize, the State Science-Technology Commission of China, 1993.
  • Graduate Student Travel Grant Award, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2000.
  • Member of the Honor Society of Agriculture, Gamma Sigma Delta, October 2000.
  • Science & Technology Advancement Award, 2nd Prize, the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality, 2003.


  • ASA Editorial Board, 2008-2011(Senior Associate Editor, Agronomy Journal).
  • Member, Georgia Peanut Commodity Committee, 2007-present.
  • Member, Peanut Germplasm Committee, American Peanut Research and Education Society, 2007-present.
  • Member, Gamma Sigma Delta, 2000 -present.
  • Member, Crop Science Society of America since 1997-present.

Research Activities

Primary research responsibilities are in peanut breeding, genetics, and genomics. The major objectives of the research are to develop cultivars with desirable improved traits adapted to all U.S. peanut producing regions; and enhance elite peanut germplasm through conventional and genomic approaches. The targeted traits are high yield, resistance to tomato spotted wilt virus and leaf spot, maturity, seed characteristics (size, split, and taste etc.), high oil content, high oleic and low linoleic fatty acids, and drought tolerance. The breeding program is conducted by Auburn University in cooperation with the USDA-ARS National Peanut Research Lab (NPRL) located in Dawson, GA as a part of ARS NP301 Research Project 6604-21000-003-00D entitled ‘Developing strategies to identify useful genes in peanut and breeding high yielding peanut varieties and germplasm’. We use pedigree selection as our primary method of breeding and backcrossing is applied as well. About 2,000 breeding lines from F2 to F7 progenies are maintained in the program for selection in Headland, AL and Dawson, GA. Each year about 80 F7 lines are advanced the next year in preliminary yield tests in the two locations. Thirty-five of the best performing lines will be tested in yield trials in four locations at Dawson, GA; Headland, AL; Fairhope, AL and Lucedale, MS for two years. Lines that perform well in these tests are entered into Uniform Peanut Performance Tests (UPPT) for testing in 9 locations of the eight states. After 2 to 3 years of testing in this program, the line that consistently performs superior may be released as a cultivar. A virginia-type peanut cultivar named as ‘AU-1101’ was released in 2011. In addition to the breeding effort, research goals are to understand the genetic principles of important agronomic traits in peanuts; to map quantitative trait loci (QTLs) underlying the desired traits in peanuts; to explore genetic potential for peanut improvement, and to discover new genes related to desirable agronomic and seed quality traits. Ongoing projects include the research to identify drought induced genes and association mapping of genes or alleles that control leaf spot disease resistance in peanuts. We are also evaluating transgenic peanuts generated by NPRL with fungi resistant genes from various sources, for the disease and agronomic performance. We intend to integrate transgenic peanuts into our peanut breeding program to extend our capability to genetically improve peanut with desirable traits that do not exist in cultivated peanut or its wild relatives.

Courses Taught

AGRN 7160 Genetic Data Analysis

Selected Publications

  1. Chen, C.Y., R. Nuti, D. Rowland, W. Faircloth, M. Lamb, and E. Harvey. 2012. Heritability and genetic relationships among drought related traits in peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.). Crop Sci. (Accepted).
  2. Chen, C.Y., J.E. Harvey, M. Lamb, and J. Touchton. 2012. Registration of ‘AU-1101’ peanut. Journal of Plant Registrations. (In press).
  3. Wang, M. L., C.Y. Chen, D. L. Pinnow, N. A. Barkley, R. N. Pittman, M. Lamb, and G. A. Pederson. 2012. Variability in Seed dormancy variability in the U.S. peanut mini-core collection. Plant Genetic Resources. DOI:10.3923/rjss.2012.
  4. Dang, P. and C.Y. Chen. 2012. Combined RNA and DNA isolation from peanut and other oil seeds. Molecular Biology Reports. DOI 10.1007/s11033-012-2204-9.
  5. Dang, P. C.Y. Chen, and C.C. Holbrook. 2012. Identification of genes encoding drought-induced transcription factors in peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.). Journal of Molecular Biochemistry. (2012)1:196-205.
  6. Nutt, R., C.Y. Chen, P. Dang, and E. Harvey. 2012. Peanut cultivar response to tomato spotted wilt virus over five planting dates.Peanut Science. (Accepted).
  7. Li, Y., A.K. Culbreath, C.Y. Chen, S.J. Knapp, C.C. Holbrook, and B. Guo. 2012. Variability in field response of peanut genotypes from the U.S. and China to tomato spotted wilt virus and leaf spots. Peanut Science. 39:30-37.
  8. Qin, H., S. Feng, C.Y. Chen, Y. Guo, S. Knapp, A. Culbreath, G. He, M.L. Wang, X. Zhang, C.C. Holbrook, P. Ozias-Akins, X. Liang, and B. Guo. 2012. An integrated genetic linkage map of cultivated peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) constructed from two RIL populations. Theor Appl Genet. 124:653-664.
  9. Zhao, D., J.C. Comstock, B. Glaz, S. J. Edme, N.C. Glynn, I. A. Del Blanco, R. A. Gilbert, R. W. Davidson, and C.Y. Chen. 2012. Vigor rating and brix for first clonal selection stage of the Canal Point sugarcane cultivar development program. Journal of Crop Improvement. 26:60-75.
  10. Li, Y., C.Y. Chen, S.J. Knapp, A.K. Culbreath, C.C. Holbrook and B. Guo. 2011.  Characterization of simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers and genetic relationships within cultivated peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.). Peanut Science 38:1-10.
  11. Fountain, F. H. Qin, C.Y. Chen, P. Dang, M.L. Wang, and B. Guo. 2011. A note on development of a low-cost and high-throughput SSR-based genotyping method in peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) Peanut Science 38:122-127.
  12. Grey. T.L., J.P. Beasley Jr., T.M. Webster, and C.Y. Chen.  2011. Peanut seed vigor evaluation using a thermal gradient. International Journal of Agronomy.  Volume 2011, Article ID 202341, 7 pages doi:10.1155/2011/202341.
  13. Wang, M.L., S. Sukumaran, N.A. Barkley, Z.B. Chen, C.Y. Chen, B. Guo, R.N. Pittman, H. T. Stalker, C.C. Holbrook, G.A. Pederson, and J. Yu. 2011. Population structure, molecular markers and trait association analysis of the U.S. peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) mini-core collection. Theor Appl Genet. 123:1307-1317.
  14. Sundaram, J., C. Kandala, C.L. Butts, C.Y. Chen, and Victor Sobolev.  2011. Nondestructive NIR reflectance spectroscopic method for rapid fatty acid analysis of peanut seeds. Peanut Science. 38:85-92.
  15. Guo, B., C.Y. Chen, Y. Chu, C.C. Holbrook, P. Ozias-Akins, and H.T. Stalker. 2011. Advances in Genetics and Genomics for Sustainable Peanut Production.  Sustainable Agriculture and New Biotechnologies. CRC Press, Taylor &Francis Group, LLC Pp. 341-368. (Book Chapter).
  16. Wang, M.L., C.Y. Chen, J. Davis, B. Guo, T. Stalker, and R. Pittman. 2009. Assessment of oil content and fatty acid composition variability in different peanut subspecies and botanical varieties. Plant Genetic Resources. 1-3. DOI: 10.1017/S1479262109990177.
  17. Olmstead, J. W., A. M. Sebolt, A. Cabrera, S. S. Sooriyapathirana, S.Hammar, G. Iriarte, D. Wang, C.Y. Chen, E. van der Knaap, and A.F. Iezzoni. 2008. Construction of an intra-specific sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) genetic linkage map and synteny analysis with thePrunus reference map. Tree Genetics & Genomes.  4: 897-910.
  18. Zhang, B., P. Chen, C.Y. Chen, D. Wang, A. Shi, A. Hou, and T. Ishibashi. 2008. Quantitative trait loci mapping of seed hardness in soybean. Crop Science. 48: 1341–1349.
  19. Chen, C.Y., C. Gu, C. Mensah, R.L. Nelson, and D. Wang. 2007. SSR Marker diversity of soybean aphid resistance sources in North America. Genome 50: 1104-1111.
  20. Qu, Y., P. Mu, H. Zhang, C.Y. Chen, Y. Gao, Y. Tian, F. Wen, and Z. Li. 2007. Mapping QTLs of root morphological traits at different growth stages in rice. Genetica. DOI 10.1007/s10709-007-9199-5.
  21. Chen, Y., D. Wang, P. Arelli, M. Ebrahimi, and R.L. Nelson. 2006. Molecular marker diversity of SCN resistant sources in soybean. Genome. 49: 938-949.
  22. Chen, Y., and R.L. Nelson. 2006. Variation in early plant height in wild soybean. Crop Science. 46: 865-869.
  23. Rouf Mian M.A., J.C. Zwonitzer, Y. Chen, M.C. Saha, and A.A. Hopkins. 2005. Genetic diversity in 20 hardinggrass populations assessed with AFLP markers. Crop Science. 45:  2591-2597.
  24. Chen, Y., and R.L. Nelson. 2005. Relationship between origin and genetic diversity in Chinese soybean germplasm. Crop Science. 45: 1645-1652.
  25. Chen, Y., and D. Wang. 2005. Two convenient methods to evaluate soybean for resistance to Sclerotinia sclerotiorum.  Plant Disease. 89: 1268-1272.
  26. Cornelious, B., P. Chen, Y. Chen, N. de Leon, and D. Wang. 2005. Identification of QTLs underlying flood tolerance in soybean. Molecular Breeding. 16: 103-112.
  27. Chen, Y., and R.L. Nelson. 2004. Genetic variation and relationships among cultivated, wild, and semi-wild soybean. Crop Science. 44: 316-326.
  28. Chen, Y., and R.L. Nelson. 2004. Identification and evaluation of a white-flowered wild soybean plant. Crop Science. 44: 339-343.
  29. Chen, Y., and R.L. Nelson. 2004. Evaluation on leaflet shape and size in wild soybean. Crop Science. 44: 671-677.
  30. Qiu,  L., R. Chang, W. Wang, P. Cregan, D. Wang, Y. Chen, and F. Ma. 2003. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) at both loci ofrhg1 and Rhg4 in soybean resistant germplasm. Journal of Plant Genetic Resources. 4(2): 89-93.
  31. Chen, Y., R.L. Nelson, and T. Kilen. 1999.  Evaluation of the USDA Glycine soja germplasm collection: MG IV to VIII (PI 65549 to PI 603146). Field Study. 1998-1999 Stoneville, MS (Lat 36 degrees 26 minutes N). USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program.Germplasm Resources Information Network – (GRIN). (Online Database).
  32. Chen, Y., and R.L. Nelson. 1999. Evaluation of the USDA Glycine soja germplasm collection: MG 000 to I (PI 65549 to PI 603146). Field Study in screened cages. 1998-1999. Urbana, IL (Latitude: 40 Degrees 08 Minutes N Longitude: 88 Degrees 12 Minutes W Elevation: 227 meters.) USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network – (GRIN). (Online Database).
  33. Chen, Y., G. Shao, and R. Chang. 1997. The effect of salt stress on superoxide dismutase in various organelles from cotyledon of soybean seedling.  Acta Agronomica Sinica. 23: 214-219.
  34. Chang, R., J. Sun and Y. Chen, 1996. The Catalog of Chinese soybean germplasm collection No. 2, China Agriculture Press.  Beijing, China. (Book).
  35. Chen, Y., and R. Chang, G. Shao, and S. Yan. 1994. Study on the variation of the superoxide dismutase of soybean under salt stress condition.  Acta Agronomica Sinica. 20: 363-367.
  36. Lin, L., and Y. Chen. 1993. Nutritional characters and proper utilization of edible pulses. Compilation of papers on technology and utilization of AVRDC- improved mungbeans in China. China Agriculture Press, pp. 232-238. (Book Chapter).
  37. Chen, Y., and L. Lin. 1992. A new study of taxonomy of cultivated species in Genus Vigna.  Scientia Agricultura Sinica. 25(6): 22-29.
  38. Chen, Y. 1991. The utilization status and trend of food legumes in China. The Utilization and Exploitation of Legumes Protein Resources. China Agriculture Press, pp. 78-86. (Book Chapter).
  39. Chen, Y. 1991. The nutrient traits and reasonable use of food legumes. The Utilization and Exploitation of Legumes Protein Resources. China Agriculture Press, pp. 89-93. (Book Chapter).