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Scorza named to Agricultural Research Service Science Hall of Fame

By Staff | Oct 2, 2015

Research horticulturist and lead scientist Ralph Scorza at the ARS Appalachian Fruit Research Laboratory in Kearneysville has been named to the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Science Hall of Fame for discoveries in fruit tree breeding, genetics and biotechnology. ARS is the chief intramural scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Scorza, was inducted into the Hall of Fame along with three other ARS scientists.

“The extraordinary contributions of these four scientists have had a significant impact on food and agriculture worldwide,” said ARS Administrator Chavonda Jacobs-Young. “Their outstanding accomplishments demonstrate commitment, knowledge and perseverance and exemplify the values that have made ARS the premier agricultural research organization that it is today.”

Scorza, a research horticulturist and lead scientist at the ARS Appalachian Fruit Research Laboratory in Kearneysville, West Virginia, is nationally and internationally recognized for his pioneering work genetically enhancing fruit tree architecture, developing new stone fruit varieties, and for using biotechnology techniques to improve woody perennial fruit species. Scorza has released 12 varieties of peaches, nectarines and plums, including those with novel architectures, disease resistance, and improved flavors, several of which have become industry standards. His research team developed the ‘FasTrack’ breeding system that dramatically reduces the generation time for stone fruit species using a biotech approach to stimulate early flowering and fruiting. He anticipated the spread of the exotic and destructive Plum Pox Virus into the United States and developed the first genetically engineered Plum Pox Virus resistant fruit tree to be approved for cultivation in this country.