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Genetic mapping and phenotyping of fruit quality traits in Fragaria x ananassa.
East Malling Research
Genetics and Crop Improvement
Dr R Harrison
No more applications being accepted
Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
This research project has funding attached. Funding for this project is available to citizens of a number of European countries (including the UK). In most cases this will include all EU nationals. However full funding may not be available to all applicants and you should read the full department and project details for further information.
PhD Research Project
Project aims: To map novel fruit quality and disease resistance traits in Fragaria x ananassa, and using a phenomics approach develop inexpensive ways of linking phenotype to genotype. We aim to answer the question: Can agronomically important phenotypes that are currently screened in the field be replicated in the laboratory and rapidly screened, in order to decrease the time and expense of traditional breeding programmes?
Techniques (QTL mapping, next-generation sequencing, molecular biology, microscopy, plant tissue culture and transformation)
Part I- linking phenotype to genotype in the field
1 Take an existing mapping progeny (a cross between two plants for which the segregation pattern of markers is already known) segregating for fruit quality and disease resistance (already mapped), and phenotype them in the field for fruit quality traits.
2 Using the existing marker data from an ongoing project, identify Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) linked to fruit quality traits.
3 Develop extra genetic markers, closely linked to major-effect QTL (the primary genes controlling the trait) for easy use in marker-assisted selection.
Part II- linking phenotype to genotype in the laboratory
4 Develop protocols in the laboratory using leaf, stem, fruit and shoot extracts and micromorphology traits to identify whether there are measurable compounds/phenotypes in these tissues that are correlated with the favourable fruit quality in the field.
5 Develop assays to screen for disease resistance QTL using in vitro infection techniques to speed up disease screening assays and identify pathovar-specific QTL.
6 Create a new seedling population from a cross of unrelated progeny in the laboratory on artificial growth medium that, utilising the results from part I and II, has been pre-screened for presence of the major effect QTL markers.
7 Screen this seedling population for correlated phenotypic markers determined in objectives 4 and 5.
8 Take progeny displaying the phenotype of interest and genotype them to validate the presence of the genetic marker.
9 Feed findings into the Strawberry breeding programme at East Malling Research.
In addition to the application form applicants must also send:
· Copies of their academic transcripts and degree certificates.
· Two references – there is a Referee Form within the application pack, but I attach a copy of this Referee Form too.
· Applicants will also need to show proof of English language proficiency, in the form of an IELTS score (6.5) or a TOEFL score (minimum of 88, internet-based test), unless all their secondary and higher education has been in English.
This project is funded by the Horticultural Development Company, a UK levy body that aims to train skilled professionals for the UK horticultural sector and supports industry-relevant scientific research.
This project is a collaboration between Dr Richard Harrison (EMR) and Prof Nick Battery, University of Reading. The PhD will be registered and awarded by the University of Reading. Completed applications (with the required accompanying documents) should be sent/e-mailed to the Faculty of Science and Life Sciences University Admissions Office (addresses are shown on the form)
Sargent, D. et al. A microsatellite linkage map for the cultivated strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) reveals extensive regions of homozygosity in the genome resulting from breeding and selection. Theor Appl Genet. 2012 Jan 5. [Epub ahead of print]
Houle, D., Govindaraju, D.R. & Omholt, S. Phenomics: the next challenge. Nature Reviews Genetics 11, 855-66 (2010).
Reuzeau, C. et al. TraitmillTM: a functional genomics platform for the phenotypic analysis of cereals. Plant Genetic Resources: Characterization and Utilization 4, 20-24 (2006).
Zorrilla-Fontanesi, Y. et al. Quantitative trait loci and underlying candidate genes controlling agronomical and fruit quality traits in octoploid strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa). TAG. Theoretical and applied genetics. Theoretische und angewandte Genetik 123, 755-78 (2011).
Mishra, K.P., Ganju, L., Sairam, M., Banerjee, P.K. & Sawhney, R.C. A review of high throughput technology for the screening of natural products. Biomedicine & pharmacotherapy = Biomédecine & pharmacothérapie 62, 94-8 (2008).
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