Rod Wing


Professor of Plant Science, Director of the Center for Desert Agriculture



Research Interests

My lab’s most significant contributions to science has revolved around the International Oryza Map Alignment Project (IOMAP). IOMAP is a biology project that was created out of our work to sequence the rice genome. Rice is the most important food crop in the world and with a 2.6 billion increase in our population by 2050 we must do all we can to develop new varieties of crops that are higher yielding and more nutritious, while at the same time have less of an environmental footprint. My approach to helping to solve the 10-billion people question is to identify, understand and harness the majority of natural variation that is already present in cultivated rice and its wild ancestors, and use that information to create the next generation of green super crops. 

Selected Publications

  • Twelve Platinum-Standard Reference Genomes Sequences (PSRefSeq) that complete the full range of genetic diversity of Asian rice, Zhou, Y., D. Chebotarov, D. Kudrna, V. Llaca, S. Lee, S. Rajasekar, N. Mohammed, N. Al-Bader, C. Sobel-Sorenson, P. Parakkal, L.J. Arbelaez, N. Franco, N. Alexandrov, N.R.S. Hamilton, H. Leung, R. Mauleon, M. Lorieux, A. Zuccolo, K. McNally, J. Zhang, R.A. Wing, 2019. BioRxiv, doi: Accepted (2020) in Scientific Data. 
  • The Genomics of Oryza Species Provides Insights into Rice Domestication and Heterosis, Chen, E., X. Huang, Z. Tian, R.A. Wing* & B. Han* (*Co-corresponding authors), 2019, Annual Review of Plant Biology 70:639-665.
  • Rapid evolution of protein diversity by de novo origination in Oryza, Zhang, Li, C. Zhang, Y. Ren, T. Yang, G. Li, A.R. Gschwend, Y. Yu, G. Hou, J. Zi, R. Zhou, B. Wen, J. Zhang, K. Chougule, M. Wang, D. Copetti, G. Jin, J. Chen, Z. Peng, Y. Ouyang, R.A. Wing*, S. Liu*, M. Long* (*Co-corresponding authors), 2019. Nature Ecology & Evolution 3:679-690.
  • The rice genome revolution: from an ancient grain to Green Super Rice, Wing, R.A, M.D. Purugganan & Q. Zhang. 2018. Nature Reviews Genetics19:505-517.
  • Harnessing natural variation across 3,000 rice genomes: SNP discovery, population structure and genome diversity, Wang, W. et. al. 2018. Nature 557:43-49.
  • Genomes of 13 domesticated and wild rice relatives reveal genetic conservation, turnover and innovation across the genus Oryza, Stein, J.C. et al. 2018. Nature Genetics 50:285-296.
  • The genome of African rice (Oryza glaberrima): Evidence for independent domestication. Wang, M. et al. 2014. Nature Genetics 46:982-988.
  • Conservation and purifying selection of transcribed genes in recombination-free centromeres. Fan, C., J. Walling, J. Zhang, J. Jiang, & R.A. Wing. 2011. Plant Cell 8:2821-2830.
  • The physical and genetic framework of the maize B73 genome , Wei, F. et al. 2009. PloS Genet. 5: e1000715.
  • The B73 Maize Genome: Complexity, Diversity, and Dynamics, Schnable, P.S. et al. 2009, Science 326:1112-1115.
  • Dynamic evolution of Oryza genomes is revealed by comparative genomic analysis of a genus-wide vertical data set, Ammiraju, JSS, F. Lu, A. Sanyal, Y. Yu, X. Song, N. Jiang, A.C. Pontaroli, T. Rambo, J. Currie, K. Collura, J. Talag, C. Fan, J.L. Goicoechea, A. Zuccolo, J. Chen, J.L. Bennetzen, M. Chen, S. Jackson, & R.A. Wing, 2008, Plant Cell 20:3191-3209.
  • Doubling genome size without polyploidization: dynamics of retrotransposition-driven genomic expansions in Oryza australiensis, a wild relative of rice, Piegu, B., R. Guyot, N. Picault, A. Roulin, A. Saniyal, H. Kim, K. Collura, D.S. Brar, S. Jackson, R.A. Wing, & O. Panaud, 2006, Genome Research 16:1262-1269.
  • The map based sequence of the rice genome, The International Rice Genome Sequencing Project (Lead authors listed as Principal Investigators: T. Sasaki, R. Buell, B. Han, F. Quetier, R.A. Wing, W.R. McCombie, Y.I. Hsing, A.K. Tyagi, N.K. Singh, J. Messing, J.H. Hahn, A. Vanavichit, A.C. Oliveria) . 2005, Nature 436:793-800.
  • In-depth view of structure, activity, and evolution of rice chromosome 10, The Rice Chromosome 10 Sequencing Consortium (R. Buell, J. Messing, W.R. McCombie & R.A. Wing – corresponding authors), 2003, Science 300:1566-1569.
  • JOINTLESS is a MADS-box gene controlling tomato flower abscission zone development, Mao, L., D. Begum, H.W. Chuang, M.A. Budiman, E.J. Szymkowiak, E.E. Irish, & R.A. Wing, 2000, Nature 406:910-913.
  • Draft sequence of the rice genome, Goff, S.A. et al., 2002, Science 296:92-100.
  • An integrated physical and genetic map of the rice genome, Chen M., G. Presting, Barbazuk W.B., Goicoechea J.L., Blackmon B, Fang G, Kim HR, Frisch DA, Yu Y, Higingbottom S, Phimphilai K, Phimphilai S, Thurmond S, Gaudette B, Li P, Liu J, Hatfield J, Main D, Sun S, Farrar K, Henderson C, Barnett L, Costa R, Williams B, Walser S, Atkins M, Hall C, Bancroft I, Salse J, Regad F, Mohapatra T, Singh NK, Tyagi AK, Soderlund C, Dean RA, & R.A. Wing, 2002, Plant Cell 14:537-545.
  • Construction and characterization of a bacterial artificial chromosome library for Sorghum bicolor, Woo S.-S., J. Jiang, B.S. Gill, A.H. Paterson, & R.A. Wing, 1994, Nucleic Acids Research 22:4922-4931.


  • Ph.D., Genetics, University of California, Davis, USA, 1987
  • B.A., Biochemistry, University of California, Berkeley, USA, 1980

Professional Profile

  • 2019-present: Director, Center for Desert Agriculture; Professor, KAUST, Saudi Arabia
  • 2019- present: Regents Professor, University of Arizona (UA)
  • 2002- present: Professor - School of Plant Sciences, Founding Director - Arizona Genomics Inst. and Member - BIO5 Institute, UA
  • 2005- present: Bud Antle Endowed Chair of Excellence in Agriculture & Life Sciences, UA
  • 2008- present: Professor – Dept. of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, UA
  • 1997- 2002: Founding Director, Genomics Institute, Clemson University
  • 1996- 2002 : Asso. & Full Professor and Coker Endowed Chair of Plant Molecular Genetics, Depts. of Agronomy and Biological Sciences, Clemson Univ.
  • 1991- 1996: Asst. & Asso. Professor, Dept. of Soil and Crop Science, Texas A&M Univ.
  • 1990- 1991: Research Associate, Cornell Univ., NSF Plant Science Center, Ithaca NY
  • 1987- 1990: USDA/ARS Postdoc. Fellow, Plant Gene Expression Cntr., U.C. Berkeley

Scientific and Professional Membership

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • American Society for Plant Biology (ASPB) 


  • 2019-present Regents Professor, University of Arizona
  • 2016-present Honorary Professor, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
  • 2015 International Beijing Da Bei Nong Technology Group Science & Technology Award 
  • 2014-present AXA Chair in Genome Biology and Evolutionary Genomics, AXA Research Foundation (500,000 Euros) 
  • 2011 Extraordinary Faculty Award –UA Alumni Association & College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • 2010 Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • 2009-2010 Alexander von Humboldt Research Award (60,000 Euros)
  • 2008 Award for Research Excellence - Arizona BioIndustry Association
  • 2008 Technology Innovation Award – UA Innovation Awards
  • 2006-present First Holder of the Shennong Professorship – Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, China
  • 2005-present First Holder, Bud Antle Endowed Chair of Excellence in Agriculture & Life Sci. 
  • 2005 Researcher of the Year – College of Agriculture & Life Sci., UA
  • 2004 USS Arizona Outstanding University Achievement Honoree – Rice Genome Sequencing Project
  • 2004 USDA Secretary’s Honor Award for Superior Service, Group Leader - United States Rice Genome Consortia
  • 1997-2003 Honorary Scientist of the Rural Development Administration, Korean Rice Genome
  • 1996-2002 First Holder of the Robert and Lois Coker Endowed Chair of Molecular Genetics
  • 1988-1990 USDA/ARS Terry Kinney Postdoctoral Fellowship, PGEC/UC Berkeley
  • 1974 Crew Person of the Month, McDonald’s Restaurant, Griffin, GA, USA 

KAUST Affiliations

CDA - Center for Desert Agriculture 

BESE - Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering