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CAHNRS Department of Horticulture Genomics Lab

WSU researchers taming the wild huckleberry

Washington State University researchers are setting their sights on domesticating the wild huckleberry, a goal that has eluded plant scientists for decades.

But in a WSU greenhouse, cloned shrubs are producing berries. Scientists say their ultimate goal is a sturdy plant with high yields of the tangy-tart berries.

Read the rest of the article by Becky Kramer here.




Taming the Northwest’s beloved huckleberry

Despite his attempts, Nathan Tarlyn is a frustrated huckleberry picker. He ventures out, looking for the wild berry that’s treasured throughout the Pacific Northwest, but often comes up short, finding only bushes that are picked over.

He’d have more luck if he looked deeper in the woods — or if someone shared their secret trove. But that’s not likely to happen. No one shares that kind of secret.

Read the rest of Taryn Phaneuf’s article in Crosscut here.

Coug Entrepreneurs Form I-Corps LEAN Teams

WSU Innovation Corps (I-Corps) is the first step many Cougs are taking to become better entrepreneurs. Lean, a term coined by Toyota’s James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones in Lean Thinking is a leadership approach used to engage people in an organization to assist in the identification, reduction and/or elimination of waste within any process. Using Lean principles, the I-Corps lean teams will determine whether their ideas have commercial worth.  Fall 2016 Team 3DbioC will be mentored by Professor Amit Dhingra.  Learn more about WSU I-Corps at

The Push to Make Pears the New Apple

Amit Dhingra is on a mission to make America fall in love with the pear.

In a lab at Washington State University, the 45-year-old horticulture researcher has dedicated much of the last decade to the shapely fruit. Building off relationships with pear growers who say their businesses are held back by a lack of scientific understanding of their product, Dhingra has mapped the pear genome, bred new trees, and even found a way to ripen the notoriously stiff fruit. Read More Here

by Taryn Phaneuf , The Atlantic

CisSERS: Customizable In Silico Sequence Evaluation for Restriction Sites, now available

CisSERS, open source software for analyzing sequence data, developed at WSU.

High-throughput sequencing continues to produce an immense volume of information that is processed and assembled into mature sequence data. Data analysis tools are urgently needed that leverage the embedded DNA sequence polymorphisms and consequent changes to restriction sites or sequence motifs in a high-throughput manner to enable biological experimentation. CisSERS was developed as a standalone open source tool to analyze sequence datasets and provide biologists with individual or comparative genome organization information in terms of presence and frequency of patterns or motifs such as restriction enzymes. Predicted agarose gel visualization of the custom analyses results was also integrated to enhance the usefulness of the software. Read the rest of this PLOS article.


Citation: Sharpe RM, Koepke T, Harper A, Grimes J, Galli M, Satoh-Cruz M, et al. (2016) CisSERS: Customizable In Silico Sequence Evaluation for Restriction Sites. PLoS ONE 11(4): e0152404. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0152404

Congratulations Seanna!

Congratulations to PhD student Seanna Hewitt! She received an Honorable Mention for her application for the 2016 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program. An Honorable Mention is considered a significant academic achievement by NSF and provides recipients with enhanced access to resources, such as supercomputing time, in support of their graduate program.

Faculty mentors will improve WSU commercialization, impact

PULLMAN, Wash. – A peer-mentoring program to help Washington State University faculty commercialize their research will launch on Jan. 19 with a reception 4-6 p.m. in the CUB junior ballroom.

The goal of the Entrepreneurial Faculty Ambassadors (EFA) is to build a stronger entrepreneurial infrastructure at WSU by creating a resource of faculty mentors who are both outstanding academic scholars and have successfully commercialized university research.

Read more at WSU NEWS

Sliced pears show potential

Sliced apples account for ten percent of the U.S. apple market. A Washington State University scientist believes sliced pears could give the pear industry a similar boost if technical challenges can be resolved.

If the pear market could be expanded by 10 percent, by delivering high-quality sliced pears, that would translate to a $40 million positive impact on the pear industry, says Dr. Amit Dhingra, WSU geneticist. Importantly, it would increase the demand for small fruit, in the less-preferred 120 to 135 size range.

Read the full article by Geraldine Warner here

Better Plantlets for Better Plants

Using a proprietary growing method developed at Washington State University (WSU), startup company Phytelligenceis producing plants and trees faster than ever, offering a fresh alternative to tree farmers in an industry overripe for innovation.

“We can produce in one year what is typically produced in three years: a 10-foot tall tree,” says Amit Dhingra, Ph.D., associate professor of horticultural genomics and biotechnology in the molecular plant sciences graduate program at WSU.


Read the full article here