Genomics research in perennial crops is quickly gaining momentum. Washington produces some of the best fruit crops globally, and WSU, with its expertise in horticultural genomics, is uniquely positioned to advance fruit improvement.
The importance of being . . . green?
Development of a fruit is accompanied by changes in pigment and several secondary metabolic processes are in full swing at this transitional phase. Organelles, namely chloroplast and mitochondria, are the major centers of activity during this period. Dr. Dhingra is working to identify and functionally characterize organelle-targeted genes in fruits in a developmental context. The researchers hope the knowledge gained from this research will help them to discover specific key players in metabolic processes related to fruit’s nutritional qualities. Green light signaling is another research project pursued through this program.
Green light is considered to be a benign component of the light spectrum. Researchers have recently demonstrated that plants do not ignore this signal and adjust the plastid transcriptome, especially during early development. They are interested in dissecting the signal transduction pathway by first identifying specific DNA elements that respond to the green signal.
Recently, researchers developed a simple, cost-effective, time saving method for rapid sequencing of chloroplast genomes. That method provides hands-on training to horticulture undergraduate students, exciting them about genomics research. The long-term goal is to integrate a bioinformatics component to establish a portal for comparative sequencing of chloroplast and other small genomes.
Plant Genomics Perspectives
March 12, 2013
Soon after arriving at WSU in 2006, I embarked on a journey with a passionate set of individuals to revive an industry that has remained in suspended animation since the early 1900s. An email from a pear farmer in Yakima urged me to apply for funding to do pear research. That was my first introduction to a segment of the Pacific Northwest fruit industry that, while long an underdog relative to apples, has long sought to reinvent itself for the 21st century marketplace.
December 4, 2011
September 2, 2011
This just in from The Packer: “Innovation crucial to pear’s future” In general, the pear industry is making money but is fragile because of a lack of innovation, said Amit Dhingra, a Washington State University horticultural genomicist.
September 6, 2012
How many merlots can you make? At some point, speculates Amit Dhingra, consumers are going to want something different. Dhingra is a horticultural genomicist at Washington State University. His research focuses on sequencing genomes and then taking that information to produce better fruit. He recently told Voice of the Vine that “as tastes change, I […]
September 6, 2012
Eighteen-year-old Sequoia Leuba was already a seasoned researcher when she came to work this summer in the lab of WSU horticultural genomicist Amit Dhingra. In ninth grade, while her peers were just starting to classify the unseen world of microbes, Leuba was conducting research at a University of Pittsburgh microbiology lab. Read the rest of the […]