Professor Cindy Tong

CFANS Horticultural Science
College of Food, Ag & Nat Res Sci
Twin Cities
Project Title: 
Fruit and Vegetable Physiology and Genetics

The Tong lab is working to understand what affects fruit and vegetable post-harvest quality.

  • One project is to discover how fruit of the Honeycrisp apple and some of its progeny retain crispness. The ability to remain crisp is one of the best features of Honeycrisp fruit. Because people like crisp apples, Honeycrisp has been used in many apple breeding programs, so some of its genes related to fruit crispness retention may be incorporated into future releases. The mechanisms by which Honeycrisp maintains its crispness is one focus of the Tong lab’s work. The researchers used next generation sequencing to better pinpoint genes that may be involved in Honeycrisp crispness maintenance, studying differential gene expression in a full-sib breeding population with Honeycrisp as one of the parents. The results from these experiments were coupled with SNP variant comparisons between the parents. Although linkage groups and differentially-expressed genes have been identified, the results still need to be verified using other methods.
  • Another project is to learn how shading affects lettuce quality. Lettuce harvested in the afternoon was rated by a tasting panel as sweeter than lettuce harvested in the morning. This may be due to photosynthate assimilation into sugar. Conversely, the researchers want to know how shading lettuce affects its sweetness and what genes are turned on and off under shading compared to the control treatment where lettuce is not shaded. Lettuce has an estimated genome size of 2.5 GB, so analyzing the results from this experiment are computationally challenging.

Project Investigators

Camila Alves
Hsueh-Yuan Chang
Assistant Professor Cory Hirsch
Dr. Laura Shannon
Professor Cindy Tong
Muyideen Yusuf
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