Ross W. Whetten

Educational Background

1988- Ph.D, Vanderbilt University. Major, Molecular Biology; Minor, Biochemistry

 1981- B.S.,  Arizona State University. Major, Bacteriology


Professional Experience

1998 – present: Associate Professor, NC State University, Forestry

2001 – 2003:     On leave from NC State University; working with Bio-Informatics Group, Inc., Cary NC, as Vice President of Molecular Biology.

1992 – 1998:     Research Assistant Professor, NC State University, Forestry

1989 – 1992:     Postdoctoral Research Associate, NC State University, Forestry

1988 – 1989:     Postdoctoral Research Associate, Utah State University, Biology


Research Interests

Regulation of gene expression and biochemical flux during tree growth and development, genetic control of growth rate and form in trees. Development and application of new technologies for assessing the genetic and biochemical components that determine tree growth and development.



Isik F, Amerson HV, Whetten RW, Garcia SA, McKeand SE. (2012) Interactions of Fr genes and mixed-pathogen inocula in the loblolly pine-fusiform rust pathosystem. Tree Genet Genomes 8:15-25


Cumbie WP, Eckert A, Wegrzyn J, Whetten R, Neale D, Goldfarb B. (2011) Association genetics of carbon isotope discrimination, height and foliar nitrogen in a natural population of Pinus taeda L. Heredity 107:105-114


Xiong J, Isik F, McKeand SE, Whetten RW. (2010) Genetic variation in stem forking in loblolly pine. Forest Science 56(5): 429-436


Whetten RW and Kellison R. (2010) Research gap analysis for application of biotechnology to sustaining US forests. J Forestry 108:193 – 201


Morse AM, Whetten RW, Dubos C, Campbell MM (2009) Post-translational modification of a R2R3-MYB transcription factor during xylem development. New Phytologist 183: 1001-1013


Whetten RW, Valenzuela S, Frampton LJ (2009) Polymerase chain reaction preparation of template for massively parallel pyrosequencing. J Biomol Tech 20:128 – 134


Isik F, Amerson HV, Whetten RW, Garcia SA, Li B, McKeand SE. (2008) Resistance of Pinus taeda families under artificial inoculations with diverse fusiform rust pathogen populations and comparison with field trials. Can J For Res 38: 2687 – 2696


Sato Y, Whetten R (2006) Characterization of two laccases of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) expressed in tobacco BY-2 cells. J Plant Research 119:581-588.


Busov VB, Johannes E, Whetten RW, Sederoff RR, Spiker SL, Lanz-Garcia C, Goldfarb B. (2004) An auxin-inducible gene from loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) is differentially expressed in mature and juvenile-phase shoots and encodes a putative transmembrane protein. Planta 218: 916-927


Myburg AA, Vogl C, Griffin AR, Sederoff RR, and Whetten RW (2004) Genetics of postzygotic isolation in Eucalyptus: whole-genome analysis of barriers to introgression in a wide interspecific cross of Eucalyptus grandis and E. globulus. Genetics 166:1405-1418.


Clore AM, Turner WS, Morse AM, Whetten RW (2003) Changes in mitogen-activated protein kinase activity occur in the maize pulvinus in response to gravistimulation and are important for the bending response. Plant Cell  Environ 26 (7): 991-1001


Goldfarb B, Lanz-Garcia C, Lian ZG, Whetten R  (2003) Aux/IAA gene family is conserved in the gymnosperm, loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). Tree Physiol 23 (17): 1181-1192


Myburg AA, Griffin AR, Sederoff RR, Whetten RW (2003) Comparative genetic linkage maps of Eucalyptus grandis, Eucalyptus globulus and their F-1 hybrid based on a double pseudo-backcross mapping approach. Theoret Applied Genetics 107 (6): 1028-1042


Patzlaff A, Newman LJ, Dubos C, Whetten R, Smith C, McInnis S, Bevan MW, Sederoff RR, Campbell MM. (2003) Characterisation of PtMYB1, an R2R3-MYB from pine xylem  Plant Mol Biol 53 (4): 597-608


Patzlaff A, McInnis S, Courtenay A, Surman C, Newman LJ, Smith C, Bevan MW, Mansfield S, Whetten RW, Sederoff RR, Campbell MM (2003) Characterisation of a pine MYB that regulates lignification. Plant J 36 (6): 743-754


Zhang Y, Brown G, Whetten R, Loopstra CA, Neale D, Kieliszewski MJ, Sederoff RR (2003) An arabinogalactan protein associated with secondary cell wall formation in differentiating xylem of loblolly pine. Plant Mol Biol 52 (1): 91-102


Kirst M, Johnson AF, Baucom C, Ulrich E, Hubbard K, Staggs R, Paule C, Retzel E, Whetten R, Sederoff R (2003) Apparent homology of expressed genes from wood-forming tissues of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) with Arabidopsis thaliana. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 100 (12): 7383-7388


Heath LS, Ramakrishnan N, Sederoff RR, Whetten RW, Chevone BI, Struble CA, Jouenne VY, Chen DW, Van Zyl L, Grene R (2002) Studying the functional genomics of stress responses in loblolly pine with the Expresso microarray experiment management system. Comp Func Genomics  3 (3): 226-243


Myburg AA, Remington DL, O'Malley DM, Sederoff RR, Whetten RW (2001 ) High-throughput AFLP analysis using infrared dye-labeled primers and an automated DNA sequencer. Biotechniques 30 (2): 348ff 


Tang W, Sederoff R, Whetten R (2001) Regeneration of transgenic loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) from zygotic embryos transformed with Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Planta 213 (6): 981-989


Whetten R, Sun YH, Zhang Y, Sederoff R (2001) Functional genomics and cell wall biosynthesis in loblolly pine. Plant Mol Biol 47 (1-2): 275-291


Sato Y, Bao WL, Sederoff R, Whetten R (2001) Molecular cloning and expression of eight laccase cDNAs in loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). J Plant Res 114 (1114): 147-155


Remington DL, Whetten RW, Liu BH, O'Malley DM. (1999) Construction of an AFLP genetic map with nearly complete genome coverage in Pinus taeda.  Theor Appl Genetics 98: 1279-1292


Wenck AR, Quinn M, Whetten RW, Pullman G, Sederoff R (1999) High-efficiency Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of Norway spruce (Picea abies) and loblolly pine (Pinus taeda).  Plant Mol Biol 39:407-416


Allona I, Quinn M, Shoop E, Swope K, St Cyr S, Carlis J, Riedl J, Retzel E, Campbell MM, Sederoff R, Whetten RW (1998) Analysis of xylem formation in pine by cDNA sequencing. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 95: 9693-9698


Marques CM, Araujo JA, Ferreira JG, Whetten R, O'Malley DM, Liu BH, Sederoff R (1998) AFLP genetic maps of Eucalyptus globulus and E. tereticornis. Theor Appl Genetics  96 (6-7): 727-737


Whetten RW, Mackay JJ, Sederoff RR (1998) Recent advances in understanding lignin biosynthesis. Ann Rev Plant Physiol Plant Mol Biol 49: 585-609


Ralph J, Mackay, JJ, Hatfield RD, O’Malley DM, Whetten RW, Sederoff RR (1997) Abnormal lignin in a loblolly pine mutant. Science 277:235-239


Chaparro JX, Werner DJ, Whetten RW, O’Malley DM (1995) Characterization of an unstable anthocyanin phenotype and estimation of somatic mutation rates in peach.  J Heredity 86 (3): 186-193


Chaparro JX, Werner DJ, Whetten RW, O’Malley DM (1995) Inheritance, genetic interaction, and biochemical characterization of anthocyanin phenotypes in peach.  J Heredity  86 (1): 32-38


Mackay JJ, Liu WW, Whetten R, Sederoff RR, O’Malley DM (1995) Genetic analysis of cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase in loblolly pine - single-gene inheritance, molecular characterization and evolution. Mol  Gen Genetics  247 (5): 537-545


Voo KS, Whetten RW, Sederoff RR, O’Malley DM (1995) 4-coumaroyl-CoA ligase from loblolly pine xylem. Plant Physiol 108:85-97


Whetten R, Sederoff R (1995) Lignin biosynthesis. Plant Cell 7 (7): 1001-1013


Sederoff RR, Campbell M, O’Malley DM, Whetten R (1994) Genetic regulation of lignin biosynthesis and the potential modification of wood by genetic engineering in loblolly pine. In: Genetic Engineering of Plant Secondary Metabolism (BE Ellis, GW Kuroki, HA Stafford, eds), vol 28 of Recent Advances in Phytochemistry (HA Stafford, series ed), Plenum Press NY, pp 313-355.


O’Malley DM, Whetten R, Bao WL, Chen CL, Sederoff RR (1993) The role of laccase in lignification. Plant J  4 (5): 751-757


Bao W, O’Malley DM, Whetten R, Sederoff RR (1993) A laccase associated with lignification in loblolly pine xylem. Science 260 (5108): 672-674


Whetten RW, Sederoff RR (1992) Phenylalanine ammonia-lyase from loblolly pine - purification of the enzyme and isolation of complementary DNA clones. Plant Physiol 98: 380-386


Whetten R, Sederoff R (1991) Genetic engineering of wood. For Ecol Management  43: 301-316