Geneticists to Develop Tool for Genotyping Citrus
To address exotic diseases like HLB, breeders need
sophisticated tools that rapidly characterize citrus varieties and hybrids and
locate genes for disease resistance, fruit quality, and other essential traits.
Roose is a professor of genetics
and the chair of the Department of
Plant Sciences at UCR.
Photo credit: L. Duka
Two plant geneticists at the University of California,
Riverside have received a $450,000 grant from the National Institute of Food and
Agriculture (NIFA) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop a
genetic tool that citrus breeders can use to improve the efficiency with which
citrus varieties are bred.
Mikeal Roose and Timothy Close, both professors of
genetics and the principal investigator and co-principal
investigator, respectively, of the two-year grant, will lead the project on
developing a “high-density SNP genotyping array” for citrus — an important tool
that geneticists and molecular breeders use to do genetic analyses of animals
“We will use this tool to study essentially all trees in our
Variety Collection and several large citrus families in which individuals
vary for traits of economic importance,” said Roose, chair of the Department of
Botany and Plant Sciences.
“A valuable outcome of this project will be a comprehensive
understanding of relationships among citrus varieties and how these relate to
economically valuable characters,” Roose said.
UC Riverside has a long tradition in citrus research, with a
major focus on citrus production and development of new varieties. Used extensively
to solve citrus disease problems and improve commercial varieties, the
university’s Citrus Variety Collection is one of the world’s most diverse
living collections of citrus and related types with approximately 1,000
different varieties (including mandarins, blood oranges, navel oranges,
citrons, clementines, tangos, grapefruit, Valencia oranges, and pummelos).
Close is a professor of genetics at
UC Riverside. Photo credit: I. Pittalwala
total, NIFA announced nearly $9 million in grants for research into issues
affecting plant breeding and production, leading to
improvements in plants that are critical to the sustainability and competitiveness
of American agriculture.
Other California research institutions receiving the grants are:
California, Davis, $900,000, and USDA Agricultural Research Service, Albany, $500,000.
awards were made under the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative
Foundational Program priority area of plant breeding for agricultural
Iqbal Pittalwala of UC Riverside
Labels: Funding to improve citrus production and Health, Tool to Genotype Citrus and HLB, UC Riverside receives grant from NIFA, USDA grant for genetic tool