Rex Bernardo

Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Agronomy and Plant Genetics

Rex is a world expert in statistical genetics and the use of cheap and abundant DNA fingerprints to improve plants for complex traits such as grain yield. He pioneered the use of modern-day predictive methods in plant breeding.

Dr. Rex Bernardo is a professor and endowed chair in corn breeding and genetics at the University of Minnesota. In 1994, he developed “genomic best linear unbiased prediction” or GBLUP, which has become the most widely used method of genetic evaluation in livestock. His current research focuses on targeted recombination in crop improvement. Rex’s awards include the Young Crop Scientist Award from the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) in 1999, Fellow of CSSA and of the American Society of Agronomy in 2005, Plant Breeding Impact Award from the National Association of Plant Breeders in 2015, and Crop Science Research Award from CSSA in 2019. Rex has written two widely adopted textbooks, Breeding for Quantitative Traits in Plants (2002, 2010, 2020) and Essentials of Plant Breeding (2014).

Rex obtained a B.S. degree in plant breeding at the Visayas State College of Agriculture in the Philippines in 1984, and his Ph.D. degree in agronomy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1988. Prior to joining the academe in 1997, he worked as a research scientist with a seed company for nine years.