Navigation Links
UW-Madison scientists played role in potato genome project
Date:7/10/2011

MADISON University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists are part of an international consortium that has successfully sequenced and analyzed the potato genome. The consortium's work, which is described in the current issue of Nature, turned up more than 39,000 genes and is expected to speed potato research and breeding projects around the globe.

The Wisconsin team's contribution involved uncovering important information about the structure of potato's 12 chromosomes.

"The most important part of this project was actually finding the genes. That was the main goal," says UW-Madison plant geneticist Jiming Jiang, one of 20 principal investigators from 14 countries who worked on the project. "But the group still needed our expertise to help solve some of the puzzles."

Jiang is an expert in cytogenetics, the study of the structure and function of chromosomes. He and fellow UW scientists Marina Iovene and Giovana Torres used microscopic tools to reveal unique physical characteristics of each of the potato plant's 12 chromosomes, such as the location of gene-rich and gene-poor regions and -- particularly important -- where each chromosome begins and ends within the genome sequence.

"Through sequencing alone, it is difficult to reveal this kind of information. But cytogenetic analysis can help connect the sequence information to individual chromosomes. Cytogenetic mapping provides a bird's-eye view of the potato chromosomes," explains Jiang, who made similar contributions to international efforts to sequence the rice, corn (maize) and papaya genomes.

Potato is the world's most important non-grain food crop. Each year, more than 200 million tons are eaten worldwide. In Wisconsin potatoes are grown on more than 63,000 acres, making the state the third-largest producer in America.

Historically, potato has been notoriously difficult to work with. It is a tetraploid, meaning its cells contain four copies of each chromosome, which makes it difficult to breed. Despite decades of improvement work, the crop remains susceptible to pests, pathogens and inbreeding depression (where new potato lines are weaker than their parents). Sequencing of the potato genome should speed efforts to address these issues.

"It will take researchers awhile to use the genome information to improve its agronomic traits, such as improved quality, yield, drought tolerance and disease resistance. But our most recent research will accelerate efforts to improve potato varieties and help close the gap in bringing a better potato to the farmer," says Robin Buell, a plant biologist at Michigan State University, one of three co-leaders of the potato genome project.

Jiang says the availability of potato's genetic code will get him back in the game of huntingor cloninggenes of value to the potato industry. He had sworn off such work in the early 2000s after an agonizingly slow quest to find the gene responsible for a wild potato's resistance to late blight, the pathogen that caused the Irish Potato Famine. The effort was ultimately successful, but it took three postdoctoral researchers more than five years to accomplish.

"Back then I said I would never clone a potato gene again until the genome is sequenced, because without the sequence it was so difficult and time-consuming. We just lacked the resources to work withthe markers, the maps," says Jiang. "Now that there's a reference genome, it's going to be so much easier for all future workidentifying, cloning and characterizing potato genes."

Jiang plans to search for more disease-resistance genes, as well as genes that affect potato quality. Based on what happened after other crops were sequenced, he expects this will feel a bit like a gold rush among potato gene prospectors.

"Before the rice genome was sequenced, it was also very difficult to clone a gene in rice," he says. "After the publication of rice's genome sequence in 2005, you started to see paper after paper by people cloning all sorts of genesgenes responsible for yield, abiotic stressand it was all because of the sequence."


'/>"/>

Contact: Jiming Jiang
jjiang1@wisc.edu
608-262-1878
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Leaky genes put evolution on the fast track, Pitt and UW-Madison researchers find
2. UW-Madison lake scientist gets worlds top water prize
3. UW-Madison scientists create super-strong collagen
4. Sweet corn story begins in UW-Madison lab
5. UW-Madison study reveals new options for people with PKU
6. Scientists discover how best to excite brain cells
7. Scientists devise way to sort brain cells for potential transplants
8. Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation awards prestigious fellowships to 18 top young scientists
9. Scientists sequence DNA of cancer-resistant rodent
10. Scripps Research scientists solve mystery of nerve disease genes
11. Scientists discover that Hawaii is not an evolutionary dead end for marine life
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/5/2017)... NEW YORK , April 5, 2017 ... security, is announcing that the server component of the ... is known for providing the end-to-end security architecture that ... customers. HYPR has already secured over 15 ... system makers including manufacturers of connected home product suites ...
(Date:4/3/2017)... 3, 2017  Data captured by IsoCode, ... detected a statistically significant association between the ... treatment and objective response of cancer patients ... predict whether cancer patients will respond to ... well as to improve both pre-infusion potency testing ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... Trends, opportunities and forecast in this market ... (fingerprint, AFIS, iris recognition, facial recognition, hand geometry, vein ... use industry (government and law enforcement, commercial and retail, ... others), and by region ( North America ... Pacific , and the Rest of the World) ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 21, 2017 , ... Beaker, ... executive talent in the life sciences industry, today announces a strategic partnership with ... partnership takes full advantage of Beaker’s expertise in executive recruitment solutions, providing Alcami ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... , ... Building on the success of the inaugural RAADfest last year, RAADfest ... developments in radical life extension. RAADfest combines cutting edge science presented for a lay ... development, making it the largest most comprehensive and inclusive super longevity event in the ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 22, 2017 , ... Ovation Fertility supports the ... disease, bringing new hope for prospective parents who are challenged with costs of ... the World Health Organization’s designation in hopes of changing the way health insurers, ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 22, 2017 , ... ... to clients throughout the biopharma and life sciences industries, continue to be in ... seeing. Tunnell’s Kip Wolf will be speaking on “The State of Information Governance ...
Breaking Biology Technology: