Tom Davis, professor of biological sciences at UNH, and postdoctoral researcher Bo Liu were significant contributors to the genome sequence of the woodland strawberry, which was published last month in the journal Nature Genetics.
“We now have a resource for everybody who’s interested in strawberry genetics. We can answer questions that before would have been impossible to address,” says Davis, who has been working on the strawberry genome project since 2006 as part of the international Strawberry Genome Sequencing Consortium.
For instance, says Davis, breeders can now look at the DNA “fingerprint” of strawberry plants to more easily breed those with enhanced flavor, aroma, or antioxidant properties. Or they could breed more disease-resistant berries, decreasing the significant amount of spraying that cultivated strawberries currently need to thrive and thus enhancing the berry’s healthful qualities.
Further, the woodland strawberry is a member of the Rosaceae family, which includes apples, peaches, cherries, raspberries, and almonds, all economically important and popular crops; researchers say the DNA sequence of the strawberry genome will inform the breeding of these other fruits. “We can now begin to understand how evolution works at the level of the genome on this family of plants we all enjoy,” says Davis.
The genome sequencing effort, led by researchers at the University of Florida and Virginia Tech, found that the woodland strawberry -- Fragaria vesca – has240 million base pairs of DNA (compared to 3 billion for humans), making it one of the smallest genomes of economically significant plants. The consortium focused first on sequencing the wild woodland strawberry because its cultivated cousins, all hybrids, are far more complex.
Building upon prior publications in which he described a one percent genomic sampling of a native New Hampshire wild strawberry, Davis played multiple roles in genome project planning, data interpretation, and manuscript preparation. Liu’s unique contribution to this effort was to independently document the locations of specific sequences called ribosomal gene clusters on the chromosomes themselves, using an advanced microscopic technique known as fluorescent in situ hybridization.
The Nature Genetics paper, “The genome of the woodland strawberry,” is available here: http://strawberrygenes.unh.edu/Published.740%5B1%5D.pdf. By fortuitous coincidence, the complete genomic sequence of another delectable plant species, Theobroma cacao (chocolate), was published in the same journal issue. More information on strawberry genome work at UNH is at strawberrygenes.unh.edu. The UNH component of this work was supported, in part, by the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station and by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (National Research Initiative) Plant Genome program.
The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,200 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students.
Beth Potier | EurekAlert!
Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden
The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy