Plant Sciences


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Xiwen Cai

Cai photo
Office: Loftsgard Hall 266G
Phone: (701) 231-7404

Associate Professor
Wheat Genetics & Cytology

The wheat genetics and cytology research team has been identifying, characterizing, and utilizing economically and biologically important genes from relatives of wheat for wheat improvement. To date, we have developed spring wheat germplasm with resistance to FHB, rusts, tan spot, and SNB and potential tolerance to drought stresses from relatives of wheat. In addition, we have been characterizing some of the resistance genes, including molecular mapping and marker development for the genes. Recently we have identified genes for high nitrogen-use efficiency and nitrification inhibition in soil from wild relatives of wheat and been characterizing and incorporating these favorable genes into ND wheat backgrounds. In addition, we uncovered the cytological mechanism of meiotic restitution, a variant meiotic process that leads to polyploidization in wheat, and cloned a gene that may be involved in this meiotic process.

Teaching Responsibilities


  • PhD 1998, Crop Science, Washington State University
  • MS 1986, Crop Science, Nanjing Agricultural University
  • BS 1983, Agronomy, Huazhong Agricultural University

Professional Experience

  • 2008 - present: Associate Professor, Department of Plant Sciences, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND
  • 2002 - 2008: Assistant Professor, Department of Plant Sciences, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND
  • 1994 - 2001:  Research Scientist, Washington State University/USDA-ARS, Pullman, WA
  • 1986 - 1994: Assistant Professor, Huazhong Agricultural University, China
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