Fruit and Vegetable Physiology and Genetics
The Tong lab is working on two projects:
- Apple fruit crispness: Anyone tasting a Honeycrisp apple knows about its crisp texture. The ability to remain crisp is one of the best features of Honeycrisp. Because people like crisp apples, Honeycrisp has been used in many apple breeding programs, so some of its genes may be incorporated into future releases. The mechanisms by which Honeycrisp maintains its crispness is one focus of this lab’s work. They are now using next-generation sequencing to better pinpoint genes that may be involved in Honeycrisp crispness maintenance. They are also using a full-sib breeding population to study the expression of these genes.
- Potato Anthocyanins: The coloration of red potato tubers is due to pigments called anthocyanins, which can have complex chemistries. The Norland variety naturally produced a mutant with pinker tubers, named Red Norland. Red Norland gave rise to a variety with darker tubers, called Dark Red Norland. This lab is using next-generation DNA sequencing to determine how anthocyanin genes have changed when Norland mutated into its color sports Red Norland and Dark Red Norland.
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