Amy Frary

David and Lucy Stewart Professor of Biological Sciences

Amy Frary's research focuses on studying the genetic architecture and evolution of plant genomes, largely through the analysis of quantitative traits and comparative genome mapping. She seeks to discover and characterize the genes underlying specific physical attributes of plants and to understand the ways in which genes, chromosomes, and whole genomes have changed over evolutionary time. Her work is primarily centered on crop plants because these species offer long-established model systems for basic research as well as the potential for contributing to the applied science of plant breeding. An alumna of Mount Holyoke, Frary says she returned to MHC "because of the quality of the students."

Having recently moved into a new office on the top floor of the renovated Carr Laboratory, Frary is excited by the interdisciplinary nature of the new science center. Frary is now an occupant of what is becoming known as the "chemistry/ molecular biology zone." She is equally at home among biologists who work at the molecular level and chemists who work at the biological level.

Frary has worked with students on the Howard Hughes Summer Research Training program on such topics as the DNA fingerprinting of plants. The program is dedicated to students who have completed their first year of study and wish to spend two months at Mount Holyoke as participants in an intensive training program in biological research techniques.

Currently, Frary teaches A Green World; Introductory Biology II: How Organisms Develop; Local Flora; Plant
Diversity and  Evolution; and Plant Growth and Development. Frary's latest scholarly publications have appeared in Genome Research andTheoretical and Applied Genetics.

Postdoctoral Training

Dept. of Plant Breeding, Cornell University, 1995-1997


  • Biology 200  Introduction to Biology II: How Organisms Develop  (spring)
  • Biology 206  Local Flora  (spring)
  • Biology 325  Plant Diversity and Evolution  (fall)

Selected Publications

Frary A, Doganlar S, Ratnaparkhe MB (2008) Comparative Mapping. In: Kole C and Abbott AG (eds) Principles and Practices of Plant Genomics,Volume 1. Science Publishers, Inc, Enfield, New Hampshire, USA.

Yogeeswaran K, Frary A, York TL, Amenta AR, Lesser AH, Nasrallah JB, Tanksley SD, Nasrallah ME (2005) Comparative genome analyses of Arabidopsis spp. - inferring chromosomal rearrangement events in the evolutionary history of A. thaliana. Genome Research 15:505-515.

Frary, A, Fritz, L, Tanksley, SD. 2004. A comparative study of the genetic bases of natural variation in tomato leaves, sepals, and petals. Theoretical and Applied Genetics. 109:523-533.

Kelley, K, Jung, J, Frary, A. 2004. DNA fingerprinting in Hydrastis canadensis using RAPD analysis. ISHS Acta Horticulturae. 629: 517-525.

Brommonschenkel S., Frary A., Frary A, Tanksley S. 2000. The broad spectrum tospovirus resistance gene Sw-5 of tomato is a homolog of the root knot nematode resistance gene Mi. Molecular Plant Microbe Interactions 13:1130-1138.

Frary A., Nesbitt C., Frary A., Grandillo S., Van der Knapp E., Cong B., Liu J., Meller J., Elber R., Alpert K., Tanksley S. 2000. fw2.2: a quantitative trait locus key to the evolution of tomato fruit. Science. 289: 85-88.

Frary A., Frary A., Tanksley S.D. 1999. Use of genomic tools to explore and utilize natural plant variation. In: Borem, A., del Guidice, M.P., Sakiyama, N.S. (eds.) Plant Breeding in the Turn of the Millenium. Federal University of Vicosa, Brazil, pp 241-253.

Frary A., Matern A., Tanksley S.D. 1998. Mapping of fruit shape QTL controlling the bell-pepper phenotype in tomato. Report of the Tomato Genetics Cooperative. 48:17-18.

Frary A., Presting G.G., Tanksley S.D. 1996. Molecular mapping of the centromeres of tomato chromosomes 7 and 9. Molecular and General Genetics 250:295-304.

Presting G.G., Frary A., Pillen K., Tanksley S.D. 1996. Telomere-homologous sequences occur near the centromeres of many tomato chromosomes. Molecular and General Genetics 251:526-531.

Recent Campus News

This is a group photo of Dean of Faculty Jon Western with professors Jeremy King, Girma Kebbede, Bode Omojola and Amy Frary, and Acting President Sonya Stephens

Excellence awards for outstanding professors

Mount Holyoke professors were presented with awards for their superb teaching and scholarship at the annual recognition ceremony.

Tina Le ’18 was drawn to the “magnificent camellias” in the Botanic Garden for her research.

Plant research: It’s in her genes

Using Mount Holyoke’s living lab, Tina Le ’18 developed her own independent study and gained hands-on research experience in the field of plant genetics.