Skip to main content
Skip to main menu Skip to spotlight region Skip to secondary region Skip to UGA region Skip to Tertiary region Skip to Quaternary region Skip to unit footer


Jeffrey Bennetzen

Blurred image of the arch used as background for stylistic purposes.
Norman and Doris Giles Professor
Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar
Ph.D. (1980) University of Washington
  • Elected Member, US National Academy of Sciences, 2004
  • Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2005
  • Fulbright Awards, 2008 and 1990
  • Guggenheim Fellow, 2008
  • 1000 Talents Award, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2012
  • Lamarr Dodd Creative Research Award, 2014
  • Distinguished Visiting Researcher Award, CSIRO, Australia, 2017
  • Elected Foreign Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy, 2020
  • Stebbins Medal (shared), 2021
  • Grant Support -
    • "Systems Analysis of the Beneficial Associations of Sorghum with Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Studied with Genetics, Genomics, Imaging and Microbiomics," DOE
    • "Consolidated Bioprocessing Initiative," DOE
  • Research Interests -
    • My lab is interested in plant genome structure and evolution, especially the nature of rearrangements and the contributions of transposable elements. We also study the relationship between genome structure, evolution and gene function. Our most active current research involves studies of microbe-microbe interactions in plant roots and surrounding soil.  We have long-standing interests in genetic diversity and its use in under-utilized crops of the developing world, and biomass improvement for production of biofuels.
Selected Publications:
  • Kabir, K. H., M. A. Rahman, M. M. Rahman, P. Brailey-Jones, K-W. Lee and J. L. Bennetzen (2022) Mechanistic assessment of tolerance to iron deficiency mediated by Trichoderma hazianum in soybean roots. J. Appl. Microbiol. DOI: 10.1111/jam.15651.
  • Khan, A. L., A. Al-Harrasi, J.-P. Wang, S. Asaf, J.-J. M. Riethoven, T. Shehzad, C.-S. Liew, X.-M. Song, D. P. Schachtman, C. Liu, J.-G. Yu, Z.-K. Zhang, F.-B. Meng, J.-Q. Yuan, C. Wei, H. Guo, X. Wang, A. Al-Rawahi, I.-J. Lee, J. L. Bennetzen and X.-Y. Wang (2022) Genome structure and evolutionary history of frankincense producing Boswellia sacra. iScience. DOI: 10.1016/j.isci.2022.104574.
  • Sudalaimuthuasari, N., R. Ali, M. Kottackal, M. Rafi, M. Al Nuaimi, B. Kundu, R. S. Al-Maskari, X. Wang, A. K. Mishra, J. Balan, S. R. Chaluvadi, F. Al Ansari, J. L. Bennetzen, M. D. Purugganan, K. M. Hazzouri and K. M. A. Amiri (2022) The genome of mimosoid legume Prosopis cineraria, a desert tree. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 23. DOI: 10.3390/ijms231585030.
  • Johnson, A. C., T. H. Pendergast IV, S. Chaluvadi, J. L. Bennetzen and K. M. Devos (2022) Identification of microRNAs responsive to arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in Panicum virgatum (switchgrass). BMC Genomics. DOI: 10.1186/s12864-022-08797-x.
  • Garg, V. and 44 other authors, including J. L. Bennetzen (2022) Chromosome-length genome assemblies of six legume species provide insights into genome organization, evolution, and agronomic traits for crop improvement. J. Adv. Res. 42:315-329. DOI: 10.1016/j.jare.2021.10.009.
  • Chalopin, D., L. G. Clark, W. P. Wysocki, M. Park, M. R. Duvall and J. L. Bennetzen (2021) Integrated genomic analyses from low-depth sequencing help resolve phylogenetic incongruence in the bamboos (Poaceae: Bambusoideae). Frontiers Plant Sci. DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2021.725728.
  • Varshney, R. K., and 53 other authors, including J. L. Bennetzen (2021) A global reference for chickpea genetic variation based on the sequencing of 3,366 genomes. Nature. 599:622-627.
  • Wang, L. and 25 others, including H. Zhou and J. L. Bennetzen (2021) Aegilops tauschii genome assembly Aet v5.0 features greater sequence continuity and improved annotation. G3 (11, jkab325).
  • Tong, W., J. Yu, Q. Wu, L. Hu, D. Tabys, Y. Wang, C. Wei, T. Ling, M. A. Inayat and J. L. Bennetzen (2021) Black tea quality is highly affected during processing by its leaf surface microbiome. J. Agric. Food Chem. 69:7115-7126.
  • Bahulikar, R. A., S. R. Chaluvadi, I. Torres-Jerez, J. Mosali, J. L. Bennetzen and M. K. Udvardi (2021) Nitrogen fertilization reduces nitrogen fixation activity of diverse diazotrophs in switchgrass roots. Phytobiomes J. 5:80-87.
  • Park, M., P. Christin, J. L. Bennetzen. (2021) Sample sequence analysis of panicoid grass genomes uncovers episodic amplification and frequent horizontal transfer of LTR-retrotransposons. G3 Mol. Biol. Evol. May 8;msab133. DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msab133.
  • Govindarajulu, R., A. N. Hostetler, Y. Xiao, S. R. Chaluvadi, M. Mauro-Herrera, M. L. Siddoway, C. Whipple, J. L. Bennetzen, K. M. Devos, A. N. Doust, J. S. Hawkins. (2021) Integration of high-density genetic mapping with transcriptome analysis uncovers numerous agronomic QTL and reveals candidate genes for the control of tillering in sorghum. G3 Feb 9;11(2):jkab024. DOI: 10.1093/g3journal/jkab024.
  • Wang, X., S. Chen, X. Ma, A. E. J. Yssel, S. R. Chaluvadi, M. S. Johnson, P. Gangashetty, F. Hamidou, M. D. Sanogo, A. Zwaenepoel, J. Wallace, Y. V. Peer, J. L. Bennetzen, A. V. Deynze. (2021) Genome sequence and genetic diversity analysis of an under-domesticated orphan crop, white fonio (Digitaria exilis). GigaScience. Volume 10, Issue 3, March 2021, giab013. DOI: 10.1093/gigascience/giab013
  • Varshney, R. K., P. Sinha, V. K. Singh, A. Kumar, Q. Zhang and J. L. Bennetzen (2020) 5Gs for crop improvement. Curr. Opin. Plant Biol., 56, 190-196. DOI:10.1016/j.pbi.2019.12.004.
  • Dai, X., Y. Liu, J. Zhuang, S. Yao, L. Liu, X. Jiang, K. Zhou, D. Xie, J. L. Bennetzen, L. Gao and T. Xia (2020) Discovery and characterization of tannase genes in plants: Roles for hydrolysis of tannins. New Phytol.226(4), 1104-1116. DOI:10.1111/nph.16425.
  • Johnen, L., T. Boldieri de Souza, D. R. Rocha, L. M. Parteka, M. S. González-Elizondo, R. Trevisan, S. R. Chaluvadi, J. L. Bennetzen, and A. L. Laforga Vanzela (2020) Allopolyploidy and genomic differentiation in the holocentric species of Eleocharis montana complex (Cyperaceae). Plant Syst. Evol. 306:1-17. DOI:10.1007/s00606-020-01666-8.
  • Zhang, S., S. R. Chaluvadi, and J. L. Bennetzen (2020) Genome sequence analysis of Enterobacter sp. C6 found in the pitcher fluids of Sarracenia rosea. Microbiol. Resour. Announc., 9:e01214-19. DOI:10.1128/MRA.01214-19.
  • Zhang, S., S. R. Chaluvadi, and J. L. Bennetzen (2020) Draft genome sequence of a Serratia marcescens strain isolated from the pitcher fluids of a Sarracenia pitcher plant. Microbiol. Resour. Announc. 9:e01216-19.DOI:10.1128/MRA.01216-19.
  • VanBuren, R., C. M. Wai, X. Wang, J. Pardo, A. E. Yocca, H. Wang, S. R. Chaluvadi, G. Han, D. Bryant, P. P. Edger, W. Zhang, J. Messing, M. E. Sorrells, T. C. Mockler, J. L. Bennetzen, and T. P. Michael (2020) Exceptional subgenome stability and functional divergence in allotetraploid teff, the primary cereal crop in Ethiopia. Nature Comm. 11:1-11. DOI:10.1038/s41467-020-14724-z.
  • VanBuren, R. V., C. M. Wai, J. Pardo, A. El Yocca, X. Wang, H. Wang, S. R. Chaluvadi, D. Bryant, P. P. Edger, J. L. Bennetzen, T. C. Mockler and T. P. Michael (2019) Exceptional subgenome stability and functional divergence in allotetraploid teff, the primary cereal crop in Ethiopia. Nature Comm 580720.
  • Li, Y., X. Wang, Q. Ban, X. Zhu, C. Jiang, C. Wei and J. L. Bennetzen (2019) Comparative transcriptomic analysis reveals gene expression associated with cold adaptation in the tea plant Camellia sinensis. BMC Genomics 20: article #624.
  • Chen, L.-Y. and 44 others, including H. Zhou, H. Wang and J. L. Bennetzen (2019) The bracteatus pineapple genome and domestication of clonally propagated crops. Nature Genetics 51:1549-1558.
  • Xia, E. and 44 others including T. Wei and J. L. Bennetzen (2019) The tea plant reference genome and improved gene annotation using long-read and paired-end sequencing data. Sequence Data 6: 122 pages.
  • Xu, C.-Q. and 19 others, including X. Wang and J. L. Bennetzen (2019) Genome sequence of Malania oleifera, a threatened tree with great value for nervonic acid production. GigaScience 8. DOI: 10.1093/gigascience/giy164.
  • Dunning, L. T., J. K. Olofsson, C. Parisod, R. Choudhury, J. J. Moreno-Villena, T. Handasyde, Y. Yang, J. Dionora, W. P. Quick, M. Park, J. L. Bennetzen, P. Nosil, C. P. Osborne and P.-A. Christin (2019) Lateral transfers of large DNA fragments spread functional genes among eukaryotes. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., USA 116:4416-4425.
  • Bennetzen, J. L. (2019) Better research for better tea. Nature 566:S5.
  • Chaluvadi, S. R., P. Young, K. Thompson, B. A. Barhi, B. Gajera, S. Narayanan, R. Krueger and J. L. Bennetzen (2019) Phoenix phylogeny, and analysis of genetic diversity in a diverse collection of date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) and its wild relatives. Plant Diversity DOI:10.1016/j.pld.2018.11.005. 
  • Frailey, D. C., S. R. Chaluvadi, J. N. Vaughn, C. G. Coatney, and J. L. Bennetzen (2018) Gene loss and genome rearrangement in the plastids of five hemiparasites in the family Orobanchaceae. BMC Plant Biol. 18:30. DOI: 10.1186/s12870-018-1249-x.
  • Wuyun, T. and 30 other authors, including X. Wang and J. L. Bennetzen (2018) The hardy rubber tree genome reveals the evolution of polyisoprene biosynthesis. Mol. Plant 5:429-442. DOI: 10.1016/jmolp.2017.11.014.
  • Hoffbert, S. L., N. J. Troendle, T. C. Glenn, O. Mahmud, D. Chalopin, J. L. Bennetzen and R. Mauricio (2018) A high-quality reference genome for the invasive mosquitofish Gambusia affinis using a Chicago library. G3 8:1855-1861.
  • Wei, C. and 42 others, including W. Tong and J. L. Bennetzen (2018) Draft genome sequence of Camellia sinensis var. sinensis provides insights into the evolution of the tea genome and tea quality. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 115:E4151-E4158.
  • Bennetzen, J. L. and M. Park (2018) Distinguishing friends, foes and freeloaders in giant genomes. Curr. Opin. Gen. Dev. 49:49-55.
  • Bennetzen, J. L. and X. Wang (2018) Relationships between gene structure and genome instability in flowering plants. Mol. Plant DOI: 10.1016/jmolp.2018.02.003.
  • Arthur, R. A. and J. L. Bennetzen (2018) Discovery of lineage-specific genome change in rice through analysis of resequencing data. Genetics 209:617-626.
  • Souza, T. B., S. R. Chaluvadi, L. Johnen, A. Marques, M. S. Gonzalez-Elizondo, J. L. Bennetzen and A. L. L. Vanzela (2018) Analysis of retrotransposon abundance, diversity and distribution in holocentric Eleocharis (Cyperaceae) genomes. Annals Bot., 122:279-290.
  • Wang, X., S. Yang, Y. Chen, S. Zhang, Q. Zhao, M. Li, Y. Gao, L. Yang and J. L. Bennetzen (2018) Comparative genome-wide characterization leading to simple sequence repeat marker development for Nicotiana. BMC Genomics, 19:500.
  • Manski, C. and >310 other NAS Members, including J. Bennetzen (2018) Statement to restore science-based policy in government by concerned members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Open letter, reproduced at several internet and press sites, including
  • Dai, X., H. Wang, H. Zhou, J. Dvořák, J. L. Bennetzen and H.-G. Müller (2018) Birth and death of LTR-retrotransposons in Aegilops tauschii. Genetics, 210:1039-1051.
  • Chaluvadi, S. R. and J. L. Bennetzen (2018) Species-associated differences in the below-ground microbiomes of wild and domesticated Setaria. Frontiers Plant Sci., 9: 1183 DOI:10.3389/fpls.2018.01183.
  • Wei, T., J. Yu, Y. Hou, Q. Zhou, F. Li, X. Wang, C. Wei, and J. L. Bennetzen (2018) Circular RNA architecture and differentiation during leaf bud to young leaf development in tea (Camellia sinensis). Planta, 248:1417-1429.
  • Bennetzen, J., S. Flint-Garcia, C. Hirsch, and R. Tuberosa (eds.) (2018) The Maize Genome, Springer Nature, Switzerland.
  • Bennetzen, J. L. (2018) Maize transposable element dynamics. In: The Maize Genome (eds. J. Bennetzen, S. Flint-Garcia, C. Hirsch, and R. Tuberosa), Springer Nature, Switzerland, pp. 49-58.
  • Varshney, R. K. and 65 other authors, including H. Wang and J. L. Bennetzen (2017) Pearl millet genome sequence provides a resource to improve agronomic traits in arid environments. Nature Biotech. 35:969-976.
  • Chen, Y., J. Dong, J. L. Bennetzen, M. Zhong, J. Yang, J. Zhang, S. Li, X. Hao, Z. Zhang, and X. Wang (2017) Integrating transcriptome and microRNA analysis identifies genes and microRNAs for AHO-induced systemic acquired resistance in N. tabacum. Scientific Reports 7: DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-12249-y.
  • Kim, S. and 40 other authors, including M. Park and J. L. Bennetzen (2017) New reference genome sequences of hot pepper reveal the massive evolution of plant disease-resistance genes by retroduplication. Genome Biol. 18:210 DOI: 10.1186/s13059-017-1341-9.
  • Luo, M.-C. and 45 other authors, including H. Wang and J. L. Bennetzen (2017) Genome sequence of the progenitor of the wheat D genome Aegilops tauschii. Nature 551:498-502.
  • Wolpe, P. R. and 81 other authors, including J. L. Bennetzen (2017) Ethical principles for the use of cellular biotechnologies. Nature Biotech. 35:1050-1058.
  • Nelson, R. S. and 29 other authors, including R. Percifield and J. L. Bennetzen (2017) Development and use of a switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) transformation pipeline by the BioEnergy Science Center to evaluate plants for reduced cell wall recalcitrance. Biotech. Biofuels 10:309 DOI: 10.1186/s13068-017-0991-x.
Articles Featuring Jeffrey Bennetzen

A new project by University of Georgia researchers, led by Dr. Jeff Bennetzen, will explore the largely unknown relationship between plants and soil microbes, generating new information that’s expected to be a game changer for plant science. The five-…

Lab Personnel

Administrative Staff
Graduate Student
Postdoctoral Researcher
External Graduate Student
Postdoctoral Researcher

Support Genetics at UGA

Thank you for your support to the Genetics Department and the University of Georgia. Contributions from alumni and friends are critical to maintaining our core missions of teaching and research. Gifts are tax deductible.

Click here to learn more

Every dollar contributed to the department has a direct impact on our students and faculty.