Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center

Keith Woeste collecting Butternut samples in southern Wisconsin


KEITH WOESTE, Molecular Geneticist and Hardwood Breeding

(765) 496-6808

To send Keith an email about butternut, black walnut, or any other subject please use the email address listed below..


Post-doctoral: At the University of Illinois at Chicago, Dr. Woeste worked in the lab of Dr. Joseph Kieber performing
genetic analysis of the ethylene signal transduction pathway in Arabidopsis.

Ph.D., Genetics, University of California, Davis, CA.
M.S., Horticulture, University of California, Davis, CA.
M.Div., Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA.
B.S., Botany, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
With HTIRC since September 1999

Research Interests:

  • molecular genetics
  • forest tree breeding
  • black walnut improvement and genetics
  • black cherry improvement and genetics
  • genetic effects of timber harvest and nursery practices
  • black walnut rootstock development
  • genetics of wavy and interlocked grain in hardwoods
  • Butternut Conservation Genetics (PowerPoint Presentation)

The mission of the HTIRC includes the development and dissemination of knowledge related to the improvement of the genetic quality of hardwoods, the conservation of fine hardwood germplasm, the restoration and regeneration of sustainable hardwood forests and riparian zones and the maintenance of diverse ecosystems. In particular, classical genetic approaches are being used to understand the genetics of heartwood formation, and the formation of wavy and interlocked grain. Populations with superior growth and timber characteristics are being developed based on research performed at Purdue University and the Forest Service Research Work Unit at Carbondale, Illinois over the past 40 years. Germplasm of black walnut and other members of the genus Juglans and their hybrids is continually being evaluated by the HTIRC. We love to hear about unusual trees. Black cherry research is currently focused on understanding the factors that limit the growth and quality of black cherry in the Midwest. Insects have a particular impact on black cherry wood quality, and the identification of candidate trees with resistance to pests is a high priority of the HTIRC. We are also in the process of evaluating the growth of superior black cherry germplasm from around the eastern United States.


2011 Butternut Newsletter

Butternut versus Hybrids


Occurrence of Butternut (FIA data)

Map of Butternuts received in 2008

Recruitment history, mortality and contemporary health of butternut (juglans cinerea) populations in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Poster PDF)

HTIRC Hardwood Improvement Plantings

Atlas of Climatic types in the U.S. 1900-1939

Global Partnership in Plant Breeding and Genetics

Plant Breeding Coordinating Committee of the USDA

Swedish Forest Genetics and News

Link to Multilingual Multiscript Juglans names

USDA Juglans Germplasm Collection

Tree DNA and Forensics

Selected Publications


by Paul Wray, 0008447,, 1/26/04

Walnut Bibliographies

Butternut Resources

by Paul Wray, 0008449,, 1/26/04

Graduate Students

2012 Hotsprings, Arkansas Yellowwood Collection Trip

James Jacobs, Ph.D.

Nicholas LaBonte, M.S.

Is there a genetic basis for disease resistance in wild populations of Julglans Cinerea?

Lisa Worthen, Ph.D. May of 2011

Male genotype influences seed set and seed size in controlled crosses of American chestnut (Castanea dentata [Marsh] Borhk)

Improved genetic management of northern red oak (Quercus rubra L.) seed orchards via a novel method for the determination of phenological synchronicity

Zhonglian (Julie) Huang,  Ph.D. (PowerPoint Presentations Below) Graduated May 2009

Identification and Characterization of Genes Involved in Heartwood Formation in Black Walnut

Cloning and Characterization of JnKNAT3-like, a Class II Knox Homeodomain containing transcript Associated with Heartwood Formation in Juglans nigra

Rod Robichaud, Ph.D. Graduated June 2007

Fine Scale Genetic Structure of Black Walnut in Two Fragmented Stands (pdf)

Erin Victory, M.S. Graduated May 2005

Microsatellites as Indicators of Genetic Diversity in Natural Populations of Black Walnut (Juglans Nigra L.) Across Indiana (pdf)

Genetics Lab

Plant Breeding in the USDA Forest Service (pdf poster)


Department of Forestry and Natural Resources USDA Forest Service HTIRC Purdue University