Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Dr. Stephen S. Jones

Steve Jones in a field

Director, WSU Bread Lab

Professor, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences

Washington State University Bread Lab
11768 Westar Lane, Unit E, Box 5
Burlington, WA 98233 USA
Phone 360-707-4640



B.S. California State University, Chico 1980
M.S., Ph.D. University of California, Davis 1986, 1991


Research is directed towards small and midsized farms of western Washington. Breed improved wheat varieties (and other crops) for traditional and organic systems that incorporate diverse rotations and systems. Farmer participation and expertise is utilized and encouraged in research planning and decision making.

The goal of the western Washington breeding program is to ensure the long-term environmental and economic health of farming in Washington State while producing a food crop that is safe and high in nutritional value. Crops grown for local markets in complex systems and rotations are prioritized.

Areas of graduate student research include breeding for traditional and organic farming systems, farmer participatory breeding, converting wheat to a perennial crop, evolution of wheat species, increased water and nitrogen-use efficiencies, marker-based selection and non-GMO use of wild species for wheat improvement. Tools involve classical genetics, cytogenetics, marker technologies and innovative breeding strategies.


WSU Bread Lab


Curwen-Mcadams, C., M. Arterburn, K. Murphy, X. Cai, and S.S. Jones. 2016. Toward A Taxonomic Definition Of Perennial Wheat: A New Species ×Tritipyrum Aaseae Described Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution: 1-9.

Brouwer, B.O., K.M. Murphy, and S.S. Jones. 2016. Plant Breeding For Local Food Systems: A Contextural Review Of End-Use Selection For Small Grains And Dry Beans In Western Washington Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 31.02: 172-184.

Brouwer, B.O., P.B. Schwarz, J.M. Barr, P.M. Hayes, K.M. Murphy, and S.S. Jones. 2016. Evaluating Barley For The Emerging Craft Malting Industry In Western Washington Agronomy Journal 108.3: 939-949.

Econopouly, B.F., and SS. Jones. 2016. Jean-Michel Basquiat, Charles Darwin, T. H. Huxley, The Origin Of Cotton, And Gregor Mendel (Inventor Of X-Rays) Leonardo (first view).

Winkler, L.R., K.M. Murphy, and S.S. Jones. 2016. The History Of Oats In Western Washington And The Evolution Of Regionality In Agriculture Journal of Rural Studies 47: 231-241.

Meints, B., A. Cuesta-Marcos, A.S. Ross, S. Fisk, T. Kongraksawech, J.M. Marshall, K. Murphy, and P.M. Hayes. 2015. Developing Winter Food Barley for the Pacific Northwest of the US. Crop Science 55.4: 1563-1573.

Meints, B., B.O. Brouwer, B. Brown, A. Cuesta-Marcos, S.S. Jones, M. Kolding, S. Fisk, J.M. Marshall, K. Murphy, S. Petrie, K. Rhinhart, A.S. Ross, and P.M. Hayes. 2015.  Registration of #STRKR Barley Germplasm Journal of Plant Registrations 9.3: 388-392.

Econopouly, B., M.L. Derie, S.S. Jones, and L.J. du Toit. 2016. Downy mildew of buckwheat, Fagopyrum esculentum, in the USA caused by Peronospora cf. ducometii. Plant Disease ja.

Graebner, R., A. Cuesta-Marcos, S. Fisk, B. Brouwer, S. Jones, and P. Hayes. 2015. Registration of ‘Alba’ barley. Journal of Plant Registrations 9: 1-5.

Youngqusit, C. …….., SS. Jones, and D. Call. 2014. Ciprofloxacin Residues in Municipal Biosolid Compost Do Not Selectively Enrich Populations of Resistant Bacteria. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 80: 7521-7526.

Mohammadi, M,………….., S.S. Jones,…………. and K.P. Smith. 2014. Association mapping of grain hardness, polyphenol oxidase, total phenolics, amylose content, and β-glucan in US barley breeding germplasm. Euphytica 149:145–159

Hills, K.M., J.R. Goldberger, and S.S. Jones. 2013. Commercial bakers and the relocalization of wheat in western Washington State. Agriculture and Human Values 30(3):365-378.

Jakumar, N., S. Snapp, K. Murphy, and S.S. Jones. 2012. Agronomic assessment of perennial wheat and perennial rye as cereal crops.   Agronomy Journal 104: 1716-1726.

Jones, S.S. 2012. Kicking the Commodity Habit: On Being Grown Out of Place. Gastronomica 12: 74-77.

Hayes, R.C., M.T. Newell, L.R. DeHaan, K. Murphy, S. Crane, M.R. Norton, L.J. Wade, M. Newberry, M. Fahim, S.S. Jones, T.S. Cox, and P.J. Larkin. 2012. Perennial cereal crops: An initial evaluation of wheat derivatives.  Field Crops Research 133: 68-89.

Arterburn, M., K.M. Murphy, and S.S.Jones. 2011. Organic Wheat Breeding. In: Organic Crop Breeding, E.T. Lammerts van Bueren and J.R. Myers (eds.), Wiley-Blackwell.

Matanguihan, G.J.B., K. Murphy, and S.S. Jones. 2011. Control of common bunt in organic wheat. Plant Disease; Feature Article. 95:92-103.

Dawson, J.C., K.M. Murphy, D.R. Huggins, and S.S. Jones. 2011. Evaluation of winter wheat breeding lines for traits related to nitrogen use in organic systems. Organic Agriculture (in press).

Glover, J.D., J.P Reganold, S.S. Jones, and Y. Xu. 2010. Increased Food and Ecosystem Security via Perennial Grains. Science. 328 No. 5986:1638-1639.

Lammerts van Bueren,T., S.S. Jones, and M.M. Messmer. 2010. The need to breed crop varieties suitable for organic farming using wheat, tomato and broccoli as examples: A review. NJAS – Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences doi:10.1016/j.njas.2010.04.001.

Dawson, J.C., and S.S. Jones. Assessing genetic variation for plant N, biomass production and grain traits in annual and perennial wheat grown with organic fertilizer. (Submitted 2010 to: Organic Agriculture).

Murphy, K., L. Hoagland, P.G. Reeves, B. Baik, and S.S. Jones. 2009. Nutritional and quality characteristics expressed in 31 perennial wheat breeding lines.  Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems. 24: 285-292.

Murphy, K., K. Balow, S. Lyon, and S.S. Jones. 2008. Estimated response to selection, combining ability and heritability of coleoptile length in winter wheat. Euphytica: The International Journal of Plant Breeding 164: 709-718. doi: 10.1007/s10681-008-9692-7.

Murphy, K., P.R. Reeves, and S.S. Jones. 2008. Relationship between yield and mineral nutrient concentration in historical and modern spring wheat cultivars.  Euphytica: The International Journal of Plant Breeding 163: 381-390. doi 10.1007/s10681-008-9681-x/.

Murphy, K., J.C. Dawson, and S.S. Jones. 2008. Relationship among phenotypic growth traits, yield and weed suppression in spring wheat landraces and modern cultivars.  Field Crops Research 105: 107-115. doi:10.1016/j.fcr.2007.08.004.

Dawson, J.C., K. Murphy, and S.S. Jones. 2008. Decentralized selection and participatory approaches in plant breeding for low-input systems. Euphytica: The International Journal of Plant Breeding 160: 143-154. doi:10.1007/s10681-007-9533-0.

Murphy, K., A. Carter, R.S. Zemetra, and S.S. Jones. 2007. Karyotype and ideogram analyses of four wheatgrass cultivars for use in perennial wheat breeding.  Journal of Sustainable Agriculture 31(1): 137-149. doi:10.1300/J064v31n01_11.

Jones, S.S., S.R. Lyon, K.A. Balow, M.A. Gollnick, K. Murphy, T.D. Murray, X.M. Chen, K.G. Campbell, J.W. Burns, W.F. Schillinger, P.E. Reisenauer, and B.J. Goates. 2007. Registration of ‘MDM’ wheat.  Journal of Plant Registrations 1 (2): 104-106. doi:10.3198/jpr2007.01.0019crc.

Murphy K., K.G. Campbell, S. Lyon, and S.S. Jones. 2007. Evidence for varietal adaptation to organic farming systems.  Field Crops Research 102: 172-177. doi:10.1016/j.fcr.2007.03.011.

Glenna, Leland, Gollnick, Margaret A., and S.S. Jones. 2006. Inhumane Opportunity Structures: Teaching Eugenics at United States Land-Grant Universities, 1911-1972. Social Studies of Science. (in press).

Murphy K., D. Lammer, S. Lyon, B. Carter, and S.S. Jones. 2005. Breeding for organic and low-input farming systems: An evolutionary-participatory breeding method for inbred cereal grains.  Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 20: 45-55.

Li, H.J., M. Arterburn, S.S. Jones and T.D. Murray. 2005. Resistance to eyespot of wheat, caused by Tapesia yallundae, derived from Thinopyrum intermedium homoeologous group 4 chromosome.  Theor Appl Genet. 111: 932-940.

Lammer, D., Cai, Xiwen, A. Arterburn, J. Chatelain, T.D. Murray, and S.S. Jones. 2004. A single chromosome addition from perennial Thinopyrum elongatum confers a polycarpic, perennial habit to annual wheat. Journal of Experimental Botany. Vol. 55, No 403; 1715-1720.

News Articles

Redefining Bread

The past few years of upheaval in how people grow, cook, think about, and eat food has left no corner of the supermarket untouched. Even bread, that most ancient, simple, beloved staple of diets around the world, has been the subject of both crisis and passionate revitalization. But behind every machine-sliced sandwich bread or carefully crafted artisan loaf is a simple question of language.


Against the Grain. Should You go Gluten-Free?

Just after Labor Day, the Gluten and Allergen Free Expo stopped for a weekend at the Meadowlands Exposition Center. Each year, the event wends its way across the country like a travelling medicine show, billing itself as the largest display of gluten-free products in the United States. Banners hung from the rafters, with welcoming messages like “Plantain Flour Is the New Kale.”


The Man Who Could Make Everyone’s Bread Taste Better

If anyone ever assembled a crop-breeding all-star team, Washington State University’s Dr. Stephen Jones would be the captain. Jones, a wheat breeder, pals around with chefs like Blue Hill‘s Dan Barber and Tartine‘s master baker Chad Robertson, while his facilities, located about an hour north of Seattle, have become a sort of unofficial national headquarters for people interested in bread at its most fundamental level: the seed itself.


Baking with Unusual Wheats

Thousands of varieties, all with different flavors and uses? It’s a whole new world of flour out there, where freshness and variety are revolutionizing the way we bake.  In a low-slung research building in the heart of Washington’s Skagit Valley, professor Stephen Jones stands next to his random scribbles on a chalkboard. They read: “Grassy. Spice. Hay. Fresh-bright.”


Geneticist Teaches Farmers about Wheat

When it comes to growing wheat, veteran plant geneticist Stephen Jones believes Mother Nature knows best.


A Perennial Search for Perfect Wheat

Jones’ pursuit of a wheat variety that sprouts year after year instead of dying after producing seed was featured in the science section of the New York Times. Through crosses of wheat and wild grasses, Jones, Timothy Murray, chair and professor of plant pathology, and a bevy of graduate students, have bred perennial wheat that will sprout year after year. But significant challenges remain before growers get any seed.


“W Is for Wheat” – WSU Scientist Authors Encyclopedia Entry.

Stephen S. Jones, winter wheat breeder and professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, has recently completed the “wheat” entry   for the 2009 edition of World Book encyclopedia.
Related Page: Tri-City Herald.


Zoology 61: Teaching Eugenics at WSU

In the end it just ended. No arguments, no intellectual battles among faculty, no acknowledgement of racial hygiene programs. At Washington State College at least, there just weren’t enough students who wanted to take Zoology 61, Eugenics. By the beginning of 1950, only six students had pre-enrolled in the course for the following school year, down from 12 the year before. In a memo to the faculty on January 17, 1950, the instructor, Professor Ray Moree, stated, “Enrollment in Zool. 61, Human Heredity and Eugenics is not sufficiently high to justify its continuation; it is believed this course can be replaced by a new one which will meet the needs of a larger number of students.” The staff of the Department of Zoology met one week later. Item number 2 on the agenda was Zoology 61. The only record was “Motion Farner, second McNeil. Discontinue Zool. 61. Carried by staff.” And that was it. After 30 years, the faculty had dropped course number 61.