As onion breeder Franco Asoro leads the Collaborative Breeding Pipeline Team for short- and mid-day onion as well as bunching onions. His team develops different types of onions for various growing conditions globally. In this position, he coordinates the application of new technologies in developing better onion varieties. Asoro’s favorite part of his job is when new technical innovations are developed, like applying new digital tools to get more insights from breeding data and using molecular markers to make breeding efficient. Additionally, Asoro visits with the growers and dealers to discuss new onion hybrids and hear their feedback, which helps improve future products.
Franco received his B.S. and M.S. from the University of the Philippines, and his Ph.D. in plant breeding with minor in statistics from Iowa State University. During his PhD studies, he studied and published papers on the use of genome wide association techniques, genomic selection and advanced statistical methods for oat breeding. He spent five years as a research associate working on sugarcane, coconut and tropical vegetable germplasm, two years as a commercial breeder for Monsanto in the Philippines, and six years as an onion breeder, among other experiences. He was also part of the team that received the Global Breeding Excellence Award in 2014.