College of Food, Ag & Nat Res Sci
The Tong lab is working to understand what affects fruit and vegetable post-harvest quality. Their current project is to understand genetic differences among three closely related potato genotypes, two of which are supposedly somatic mutations of one cultivar. Tubers of the different genotypes look very different from each other, and farmers preferentially grow one genotype. The only way the cultivars have been typed is with isozyme analysis, which was not able to distinguish them from each other. All the genotypes are tetraploids, which makes it challenging to distinguish single nucleotide polymorphisms and other genetic sequence differences among the genotypes. With high throughput sequencing, the researchers hope to determine how the mutants arose from the progenitor cultivar, and what genetic sequences led to their differing tuber phenotypes.