Historic Peanut Breeding Project Expands to More High Schools in Wiregrass Area

DOTHAN (July 28, 2023) – Students in three new schools in the Wiregrass area will participate in a one-of-its-kind genomics research project through a partnership with HudsonAlpha Wiregrass.

The WIREGRASS Peanut Project will launch in Geneva County at Slocomb High School (Geneva County Schools) and Houston Academy and also in Henry County at Headland High School (Henry County Schools), this fall. Students will work on the project under the direction of the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology’s educational outreach team, including Vice President of Educational Outreach, Kelly East. Students will also learn from HudsonAlpha Faculty Investigator Josh Clevenger, PhD.

The project was piloted by students at Dothan High School and Carver 9th Grade Academy from Dothan City Schools and Rehobeth High School and Cottonwood High School, both Houston County Schools, last school year. Teachers from those four schools, as well as the three new schools, participated in a teacher training program with HudsonAlpha Educational Outreach in Huntsville over the summer. They learned the knowledge and skills needed to facilitate the project in their classroom and provided feedback that informed the project’s growth over the next year, with the goal of expanding the WIREGRASS Peanut Project into even more schools in the future.

The goal of the WIREGRASS Peanut Project is twofold. The acronym stands for With Innovative Regional Experience Growing Real Advancements through Student Scientists. It allows students to gain real-life research experience while using the power of genomics to develop more drought-and-disease-resistant peanut varieties.

About HudsonAlpha Wiregrass

The City of Dothan and HudsonAlpha partnered in 2022 to expand HudsonAlpha’s footprint into Dothan, creating the HudsonAlpha Wiregrass that focuses on agricultural research, economic development and genomics education. HudsonAlpha Wiregrass began operations in October 2022 and will eventually be located in the planned Wiregrass Innovation Center in downtown Dothan.

About HudsonAlpha

HudsonAlpha is a nonprofit institute dedicated to developing and applying scientific advances to health, agriculture, learning, and commercialization. Founded in Huntsville in 2008, HudsonAlpha’s vision is to leverage the synergy between discovery, education, medicine, and economic development in genomic sciences to improve the human condition around the globe. To learn more about HudsonAlpha, visit