Growing vegetables in the subtropical climate of South Texas represents a real challenge due to its harsh environmental conditions and high pressure of endemic or new pests and diseases that severely limit production. The vegetable-breeding program is combining conventional breeding and modern molecular methods to develop high-yield, heat-tolerant, disease- and pest-resistant, high-quality tomato and spinach cultivars for the region.

The breeding program is located at the Vegetable Research and Education Center Building, Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center, Weslaco, TX a recently opened facility that includes a dedicated molecular biology laboratory, a greenhouse, and land field for conventional and molecular breeding. New cultivars are being developed by combining genomics, transcriptomics, and metabolomic tools.