Faculty Directory

Richard Esten Mason

Richard Esten Mason

Associate Professor and Wheat Breeder

(DREX)-Director Experiment Station

(CSES)-Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences

Phone: 479-575-2354

Fax: (479) 575-7465

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The goal of my program is to integrate breeding and research efforts in order to develop improved wheat cultivars for Arkansas producers. While the large majority of the breeding effort is traditional, other techniques such as genomic selection and marker assisted breeding tools are being actively used and developed.  It is my goal to train students to be well-rounded scientists, with knowledge of both traditional and modern methods, and how to apply these methods to be successful plant breeders.

  • Breeding wheat for high yield potential, durable disease resistance, and abiotic stress tolerance in partnership with the Arkansas Wheat Promotion Board (http://arkansaswheat.org/).
  • Utilizing genomic selection for variety development in partnership with SunGrains (http://www.agronomy.lsu.edu/sungrains/)
  • Breeding for resistance to wheat stripe rust (USDA 58-6070-5-014).
  • Genetics and physiology of waterlogging and elemental toxicity tolerance in wheat (USDA-NIFA-AFRI Award #2012-67013-19436)
  • Developing scab resistant wheat varieties for the mid-south region of the U.S. (U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative, 59-0200-3-007)
  • Map based cloning of yield related genes as part of the International Wheat Yield Partnership (IWYP) (WheatCAP: 2017-67007-25939 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture).
  • Screening and developing malting quality barley varieties for Arkansas


As a Land Grant Institution, the University of Arkansas provides a unique opportunity for students to interact and learn from faculty both in and out of the classroom as we carry out the mission of teaching, research and extension. As a teacher, I try to embody this spirit by creating a learning environment that results in critical thinking and application of the subject matter toward relevant issues facing agriculture production. I work to engage students by providing information in ways that it is accessible, such as through hands on problem solving or interactive demonstrations utilizing computing software and other technology. I believe this leads to a better understanding of the material, an open exchange of ideas and leads them down the path of developing their own problems and hypotheses.  It is my goal to train students to be well-rounded scientists, with knowledge of both the foundations of and modern advances in a field of science. In the field of plant breeding, the historical principles and concepts remain unchanged and when combined with the array of data and tools available to the modern student the opportunities are endless.

  • CSES3342 Cereal Grain Production
  • CSES4103 Plant Breeding
  • CSES402V Special Topics in Genetic Mapping


  • Ph.D., Molecular and Environmental Plant Sciences (with focus in plant breeding and genetics), Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, May 2010
  • B.A., Biology (Chemistry Minor), Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, 2003

Corresponding author (*) and authors working under my supervision (†)

  1. Lozada, D.N. †, Mason, R.E.*, Sukumaran, S., Dreisigacker, S. 2017 Validation of grain yield QTL from soft winter wheat using a CIMMYT spring wheat panel. Molecular Breeding (In review)
  2. Mason, R.E.*, Johnson, J. W., Mergoum, M., Miller, R.G. †, Moon., D.E. †, Carlin, J., Harrison, S.A., Babar, M.A., Murphy, P., Ibrahim, A.M.H., Sutton, R., and Blount, A.R. 2017. AR11LE24 is a soft red winter wheat adapted to the mid-south region of the United States. Journal of Plant Registrations (In Press)
  3. Johnson J.W., Chen Z., Buck J.W., Buntin G.D., Babar M.A., Mason R.E., Harrison S.A., Murphy J.P., Ibrahim A.M.H., Sutton R.L., Simoneaux B.E., Bockelman H.E., Baik B-K, Marshall D., Cowger C., Brown-Guedira G.L., Kolmer J.A., Jin Y., Chen X., Cambron S.E., Mergoum M. 2017. ‘Savoy’, an Adapted Soft Red Winter Wheat Cultivar for Georgia and the Southeast Regions of the United States. Journal of Plant Registrations doi:10.3198/jpr2017.06.0039crc
  4. Mason, R.E.*, Addison C.K.†, Babar M.D.A, Acuna, A.†, Lozada, D.N.†, Subramanian, N.†, Arguello, M.N.†, Miller, R.G.†, Brown-Guedira, G., Guedira, M., Johnson, J.W. 2017. Diagnostic Markers for Vernalization and Photoperiod Loci Improve Genomic Selection for Grain Yield and Spectral Reflectance in Wheat. Crop Science. doi:10.2135/cropsci2017.06.0348
  5. Lozada, D.N.†, Mason, R.E*, Babar, M.D.A., Carver, B.F., Brown-Guedira, G., Merrill, K., Arguello, M.N.†, Acuna, A.†, Vieira, L.†, Holder, A.†, Addison, C.K.†, Moon, D.E.†, Miller, R.G.† and Dreisigacker, S. 2017. Association mapping reveals loci associated with multiple traits that affect grain yield and adaptation in soft winter wheat. Euphytica. doi:10.1007/s10681-017-2005-2
  6. Rahman, M.A., Akond, M., Babar, M.A., Beecher, C., Erickson, J., Thomson, K., de Jong, F.A., Mason, R.E. 2017. LC-HRMS based non-targeted metabolomic profiling in wheat under post-anthesis drought stress. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 8 (12). doi: 10.4236/ajps.2017.812205
  7. Johnson, J.W., Chen, Z. Buck, J.W. Buntin, G.D., Babar, Md A., Mason, R.E., Harrison, S.A., Murphy, J.P., Ibrahim, A.M.H., Sutton, R.L., Simoneaux, B.E., Bockelman, H.E., Baik, B.K., Marshall, D., Cowger, C., Brown-Guedira, G.L., Kolmer, J.A., Jin, Y., Chen, X., Cambron, S.E.,  and Mergoum M., 2017. GA 03564-12E6’: A High-Yielding Soft Red Winter Wheat Cultivar Adapted to Georgia and the Southeastern Regions of the United States. Journal of Plant Registrations. 11: 2: 159-164 doi:10.3198/jpr2016.07.0036crc
  8. Sater, H.M.†, Pinson, S.R.M., Moldenhauer, K.A.K., Siebenmorgen, T.J., Mason, R.E., Boyett, V.A., and Edwards, J.D. 2017. Fine mapping of qFIS1-2, a major QTL for kernel fissure resistance in rice (Oryza sativa L.). Crop Science. 57:1511–1521. doi:10.2135/cropsci2016.09.08213
  9. Klepadlo, M., Chen, P., Shi, A., Mason, R.E., Korth, K.L., Srivastava, V., and Wu, C. 2017. Two Tightly Linked Genes for Soybean Mosaic Virus Resistance in Soybean. Crop Science. doi:10.2135/cropsci2016.05.0290.
  10. Harrison, S.A., Babar, A., Barnett, R.R., Blount, A.R., Johnson, J.W., Mergoum, M., Mason, R.E., Murphy, P., Ibrahim, A.M.H. 2017. LA05006, a dual purpose oat for Louisiana and other southeastern regions of the USA. Journal of Plant Registrations. 11:89-94. doi:10.3198/jpr2016.08.0040crc
  11. Klepadlo, M., Chen, P., Shi, A., Mason, R.E., Korth, K.L., Srivastava, V. 2017. Single nucleotide polymorphism markers for rapid detection of the Rsv4 locus for soybean mosaic virus resistance in diverse germplasm. Molecular Breeding doi: 10.1007/s11032-016-0595-3
  12. Wiersma, A.T., Whetten, R.B., Zhang, G., Sehgal, S.K., Kolb, F.L., Poland, J.A., Mason, R.E., Carter, A.H., Cowger, C., Olson, E.L. 2017. Registration of Two Wheat Germplasm Lines Fixed for Pm58. Journal of Plant Registrations (In press)
  13. Ibrahim, A.M.H. *, Rex Herrington, Russell Sutton, Bryan Simoneaux, Stephen A. Harrison, Ann R. Blount, Paul Murphy, Ron D. Barnett, Esten. Mason, Md A. Babar, Robert W. Duncan, Jackie Rudd, Geraldine Opeña, Lloyd R. Nelson, Dennis R. West, Marty L. Carson, Jason Baker, Dirk B. Hays, Jerry W. Johnson, Mohamed Mergoum, and Myron O. Fountain. 2017. Registration of ‘TAMO 411’ Oat. Journal of Plant Registrations (In press)
  14. Dowling, C.D., Burson, B.L., Malinowski, D., Heitholt, J.J., Mason, R.E., Jessup, R.W. 2017. Expression of apetala 2 (AP2) and rare cold inducible (RCI2) homologs in overwintering rhizomes of Napiergrass (Pennisetum purpureum Schumach.). Plant Gene (In review)
  15. Babar, A., Blount, A.R., Barnett, R.R., Mackowiak, C., Akond, M., Harrison, S.A., Johnson, J.W., Mergoum, M., Mason, R.E., Murphy, P., Ibrahim, A.M.H., Sutton, R., Simoneaux, B. 2016. Registration of “FL720” Oat. Journal of Plant Registrations. 11:15-19. doi:10.3198/jpr2016.04.0025crc
  16. Arguello, N.A.†, Mason, R.E.*, Roberts, T.L., Subramanian, N. †, Acuna, A.M. †, Addison, C.K.†, Lozada, D.L†, Miller, R.G. †and Gbur, E.E. 2016. Performance of soft red winter wheat subjected to field soil waterlogging: Grain yield and yield components. Field Crops Research. 194: 57-64 doi: 10.1016/j.fcr.2016.04.040
  17. Mondal S., Singh R. P. Mason R.E., Huerta- Espino J. Autrique, E., and Joshi, A.K. 2016. Genetic yield gains by breeding for early-maturing and heat-tolerant wheat lines for South Asia. Field Crops Research. 192: 78-85 doi: 10.1016/j.fcr.2016.04.017
  18. Addison, C.K.†, Mason, R.E.*, Brown-Guedira, G., Guedira, M., Hao, Y., Lozada, D.L†, Acuna, A.M. †, Arguello, N.A.†, Subramanian, N. †, Johnson, J., Ibrahim, A.M.H., Sutton, R., Harrison, S.A. 2016. QTL and major genes associated with grain yield in soft red winter wheat adapted to the southern United States. Euphytica. 209: 665-677 .doi: 10.?1007/?s10681-016-1650-1
  19. Subramanian, N. †, Mason, R.E. *, Milus, E.A., Moon, D.E. †, Brown-Guedira, G. 2016 Characterization of two adult-plant stripe rust resistance genes on chromosomes 3BS and 4BL in soft red winter wheat. 56:1:143-153 Crop Science doi: 10.2135/cropsci2015.01.0043
  20. Milus, E.A., Moon, D.E., Lee, K.D., Mason, R.E. 2015. Race specific adult-plant resistance in winter wheat to stripe rust and characterization of pathogen virulence patterns. Phytopathology 105: 1114-1122 http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/PHYTO-11-14-0305-R
  21. Acuna, A. †, Mason, R.E.*, Subramanian, N. †, Hays, D.B. 2015. Meta-analysis of wheat QTL regions associated with adaptation to heat and drought stress. Crop Science 55:477-492. doi:10.2135/cropsci2013.11.0793.
  22. Ballesteros, D.C. †, Mason, R.E. *, Addison, C.K. †, Acuna, A.M. †, Arguello, N.A. †, Subramanian, N. †, Miller, R.G. †, Sater, H†. Gbur, E.E., Miller, D., Tucker, D., Barnett, M.D., Griffey, C.A. 2015. Tolerance of wheat to vegetative stage soil waterlogging is conditioned by both constitutive and adaptive QTL. Euphytica 201:329-343. 10.1007/s10681-014-1184-3
  23. Helton, M., Brye, K.R., Liechty, H., Blazier, M., West, C., Gbur, E., Savin, M. and Mason, R.E. 2015. Carbon dioxide emissions from switchgrass and cottonwood grown as bioenergy crops in the Lower Mississippi River Alluvial Valley. Biomass Bioenerg. 83:383-392
  24. Mondal, S., Mason, R.E., Huggins, T., Hays, D.B. 2015. QTL on wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) chromosomes 1B, 3D and 5A are associated with constitutive production of leaf cuticular wax and may contribute to lower leaf temperatures under heat stress. Euphytica 201:123-130. 10.1007/s10681-014-1193-2
  25. R.L. McMullen, K.R. Brye, D.M. Miller, R.E. Mason, A.L. Daigh, B.C. Menjoulet, A.L. Pirani, E.E. Gbur, M.A. Evans-White. 2014. Long-term runoff water quality as affected by broiler-litter application to an Udult in the Ozark Highlands. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. doi:10.2136/sssaj2014.07.0291
  26. Mason R.E.*, Singh R.P. 2014. Considerations when deploying canopy temperature to select high yielding wheat breeding lines under drought and heat stress. Agronomy 4(2):191-201
  27. Cantrell, M., Brye, K., Miller, D., Mason, R. E. and Fairey, J. (2014) Extraction characteristics of selenium as affected by coal fly ash type, water extractant, and extraction time. Journal of Environmental Protection, 5, 1126-1144. doi: 10.4236/jep.2014.512111
  28. Basnet, B.R., Ibrahim A.M.H, Chen, X., Singh, R.P, Mason, R.E., Bowden, R.L., Liu, S., Hays, D.B., Devkota R.N., Subramanian, N.K., Rudd, J.C. 2014. Molecular mapping of stripe rust resistance in hard red winter wheat TAM 111 adapted to the US high plains. Crop Science: 54(4):1361-1373. 10.2135/cropsci2013.09.0625
  29. McMullen, R.L., Brye, K.R., Daigh, A.L., Miller, D.M., Gbur, E.E., Pirani, A.L., Evans-White, M.A., Mason, R.E. 2014. Long-term leachate water quality trends from a broiler-litter-amended Udult in a Karst Region. Vadose Zone J. doi:10.2136/vzj2014.06.0064
  30. Mason, R.E. *, Hays, D.B., Mondal, S., Basnett, B.R., Ibrahim, A.M.H. 2013. QTL for yield, yield components and canopy temperature depression in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) under late sown field conditions. Euphytica. 194:243–259 (10.1007/s10681-013-0951-x)
  31. Prater, N.J.M., Brye, K.R., Dunn, S., Soerens, T.S., Sharpley, A.N., Mason, R.E., Gbur, E.E. 2013. Effluent storage and biomat occurrence among septic system absorption field architectures in a Typic Fragiudult. Journal of Environmental Quality 42:4: 1213-1225
  32. Beecher, F.W., Mason R.E., Mondal, S., Awika, J., Hays, D., Ibrahim, A. 2012. Identification of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) associated with maintenance of wheat (Triticum aestivum Desf.) quality characteristics under heat stress conditions. Euphytica 188: 361-368.
  33. Singh, R.P., Huerta-Espino, J., Bhavani, S., Herrera-Foessel, S.A., Singh, D., Singh, P.K., Velu, G., Mason, R.E., Jin, Y., Njau, P., Crossa, J. 2011. Race-Nonspecific Resistance to rusts in CIMMYT spring wheats. Euphytica 179(1): 175-186
  34. Mason, R.E. *, Mondal, S., Beecher, F.W, Hays, D.B. 2011 Genetic loci linking improved heat tolerance in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) to lower leaf and spike temperatures under controlled conditions. Euphytica 180:181-194
  35. Mason, R.E. *, Mondal, S., Beecher, F.W., Pacheco, A., Jampala, B., Ibrahim, A.M.H., Hays, D.B. 2010. QTL associated with heat susceptibility index in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) under short-term reproductive stage heat stress. Euphytica 174: 423-436
  36. Mondal, S., Hays, D.B., Alviola, N.J, Mason, R.E., Tilley, M., Waniska, R.D., Bean, S.R., Glover, K.D. 2009. Functionality of gliadin proteins in wheat flour tortillas. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. 57(4): 1600-1605
  37. Winn J., Mason R.E., Robbins A., Rooney W.L., Hays D.B. 2009. QTL mapping of a high protein digestibility trait in Sorghum bicolor. International Journal of Plant Genomics, Vol. 2009 Article ID 471853
  38. Hays, D.B., Do, J.H., Mason, R.E., Morgan, G., Finlayson, S.A. 2007. Heat stress induced ethylene production in developing wheat grains induces kernel abortion and increased maturation in a susceptible cultivar. Plant Science 172: 1113-1123.
  39. Hays, D.B., Mason, R.E., Do, J.H., Menz, M., Reynolds, M. 2007. Expression quantitative trait loci mapping heat tolerance during reproductive development in wheat (Triticum aestivum). Wheat production in stressed environments: by H.T. Buck, J.E. Nisi, N. Salomón (Eds) Springer pp373-383


  1. Kelley, J.P., Mason, E., Miller, R., Milus, E.A., Moon, D., and Rohman, P. 2012. Wheat Update 2012.  U of A Cooperative Extension Service Publication.
  2. Mason R.E. *, Miller R.G. †, Bond R.D., Milus, E.A., Kelly J.P. 2012. Arkansas Wheat Cultivar Performance Tests 2011-2012. Arkansas Agriculture Experiment Station Research Series 603.
  3. Kelley, J.P., Sheets, S., Mason, E., Miller, R., Milus, E.A., Moon, D., and Rohman, P. 2011. Wheat Update 2011.  U of A Cooperative Extension Service Publication.
  4. Mason R.E. *, Miller R.G. †, Bond R.D., Milus, E.A., Kelly J.P., and Bacon, R.K. 2011. Arkansas Wheat Cultivar Performance Tests 2010-2011. Arkansas Agriculture Experiment Station Research Series 594.
  5. Mason R.E. *, Miller R.G. †, Bond R.D., Milus, E.A., Kelly J.P. Arkansas Wheat Cultivar Performance Tests 2012-2013. Arkansas Agriculture Experiment Station Research Series 611.
  6. Mason R.E. *, Miller R.G. †, Bond R.D., Milus, E.A., Kelly J.P. 2014. Arkansas Wheat Cultivar Performance Tests 2013-2014. Arkansas Agriculture Experiment Station Research Series 619.
  7. Mason R.E. *, Miller R.G. †, Moon, D.E., Kelly J.P. 2015. Arkansas Wheat Cultivar Performance Tests 2014-2015. Arkansas Agriculture Experiment Station Research Series 627.
  8. Mason R.E. *, Miller R.G. †, Moon, D.E., Kelley J.P. 2015. Arkansas Wheat Cultivar Performance Tests 2014-2015. Arkansas Agriculture Experiment Station Research Series 636.
  9. Kelley, J.P., Mason, R.E., Miller, R.G., Moon, D.M., Spurlock, T. Wheat Update. September 2016. www.uaex.edu
  • Assistant Professor, University of Arkansas, October 2010 – June 2016
  • Wheat Breeding Postdoctoral Fellow, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Mexico, (2009-2010)
  • Research Associate, MD Anderson Cancer Center at Science Park, (2004-2005)
  • University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture 2016 John W. White Team Award Recipient