Horticulture Faculty

Margaret Leigh Worthington

Margaret Leigh Worthington

Assistant Professor

(DREX)-Director Experiment Station


Phone: 479-575-2603

Fax: 479.575.8619

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Dr. Worthington's primary research interest is the development of improved peach, nectarine, and muscadine grape cultivars. She also leads research on fruit genetics and molecular breeding and is especially interested in answering questions that lead to the development of molecular tools and modern breeding methods which will accelerate genetic gain and strengthen applied cultivar development programs. 

HORT5043: Advanced Plant Breeding

HORT4103/5103:  Fruit Production Science

HORT 501V: Plant Breeding Methods

Ph.D., Crop Science, North Carolina State University

M.S., Horticulture and Agronomy & International Agricultural Development, University of California, Davis                              

B.S., Environmental Sciences, Duke University


Felts, M., R.T. Threlfall, and M. Worthington. 2019. Physicochemical and descriptive sensory analysis of Arkansas-grown peaches and nectarines. HortScience. 54:226-235

Lewter, J., M. Worthington, J.R. Clark, A.V. Varanasi, L. Nelson, C.L. Owens, P. Conner, G. Gunawan. 2019. High-density linkage maps and loci for berry color and flower sex in muscadine grape (Vitis rotundifolia). Theoretical and Applied Genetics. In Press. 10.1007/s00122-019-03302-7

Worthington, M., M. Ebina, N. Yamanaka, C. Heffelfinger, C. Quintero., Y.P. Zapata, J. G. Perez, M. Selvaraj, M. Ishitani, J. Duitama, J.F. de la Hoz, I. Rao, S. Dellaporta, J. Tohme, J. Arango. 2019. Translocation of a parthenogenesis gene candidate to an alternate carrier chromosome in apomictic Brachiaria humidicola. BMC Genomics. 20:41

Zurn, J., K. Carter, M. Yin, M. Worthington, J. Clark, C. Finn, and N. Bassil. 2018. Validating blackberry (Rubus L.) seedling pedigrees and developing an improved multiplexed microsatellite fingerprinting set. Am. J. Hort. Sci. 143: 381-390.

Felts, M., R.T. Threlfall, J.R. Clark, and M.L. Worthington. 2018. Physiochemical and descriptive sensory analysis of Arkansas muscadine grapes. HortScience. 53:1570-1578.

Worthington, M. and J.R Clark. 2018. ‘Effie’ Nectarine. HortScience. 53:897-901.

Triviño, N.J., J.G. Perez, M.E. Recio, M. Ebina, N. Yamanaka, S. Tsuruta, M. Ishitani, M. Worthington. 2017. Genetic diversity and population structure of Brachiaria species and breeding populations. Crop Science. 57:1-12.

Jiménez, J., J.A. Cardoso, L.F. Leiva, J. Gil, M.G. Forero, M. Worthington, J.W. Miles, I.M. Rao. 2017. Non-destructive phenotyping to identify Brachiaria hybrids tolerant to waterlogging stress under field conditions. Frontiers of Plant Science. 8:167.

Hernandez, LM., G. Sotelo, X. Bonilla, E. Alvarez, J.W. Miles, M. Worthington. 2017. Phenotyping Brachiaria genotypes to assess Rhizoctonia resistance by comparing three inoculum types. Plant Disease. 101:916-923.

Worthington, M., C. Heffelfinger, D. Bernal, C. Quintero, Y.P. Zapata, J.G. Perez, S. Dellaporta, J. Miles, and J. Tohme. 2016. A parthenogenesis gene candidate and evidence for segmental allopolyploidy in apomictic Brachiaria decumbens. Genetics. 203: 1117-1132.

Petersen S., J.H. Lyerly, M.L. Worthington, W.R. Parks, C. Cowger, S. Leath, G. Brown-Guedira, and J.P. Murphy. 2015. Mapping of powdery mildew resistance gene Pm53 introgressed from Aegilops speltoides into soft red winter wheat. Theoretical and Applied Genetics. 128:303-312.

Worthington, M., S.C. Reberg-Horton, G. Brown-Guedira, D. Jordan, R. Weisz, and J.P. Murphy. 2015. Morphological traits associated with superior weed suppressive ability of winter wheat against Italian ryegrass. Crop Science. 55:50-56.

Worthington, M., S.C. Reberg-Horton, G. Brown-Guedira, D. Jordan, R. Weisz, and J.P. Murphy. 2015. Relative contributions of allelopathy and competitive traits to the weed suppressive ability of winter wheat lines against Italian ryegrass. Crop Science. 55:57-64.

Worthington, M., J. Lyerly, S. Petersen, G. Brown-Guedira, D. Marshall, C. Cowger, R. Parks, and J.P. Murphy. 2014. Genetic mapping of MlUM15: an Aegilops neglecta-derived powdery mildew resistance gene in common wheat. Crop Science. 54:1397-1406.  

Worthington, M. and S.C. Reberg-Horton. 2013. Breeding cereal crops for enhanced weed suppression: optimizing allelopathy and competitive ability. Journal of Chemical Ecology. 39:213-231.