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UCR researchers design chip that can improve citrus varieties

UC Riverside researchers, in partnership with Affymetrix, Inc., have designed a chip ?the GeneChip® Citrus Genome Array ?that can improve citrus varieties and suggest ways to better manage them. By helping determine which genes are turned on in a tissue of citrus ?genes that are associated with taste, acidic content and disease, for example ?the chip provides information useful to researchers for rectifying existing problems and making improvements to the fruit.

The citrus array will be used to develop new diagnostic tools for the improvement of citrus agriculture and post-harvest fruit handling, as well as to understand mechanisms underlying citrus diseases. Researchers will study traits pertinent to the citrus industry such as easy peeling, seedlessness, flavor components, pest and disease control, nutritional characteristics, and reproductive development.

"The citrus array helps us quickly examine a certain trait in citrus," said Mikeal Roose, a professor of genetics in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences at UCR and a leader of the three-year research project. "For a trait posing a problem for the consumer, such as an undesirable flavor, we can identify genes associated with the trait and target these for correction to improve the flavor. The chip also helps us address citrus diseases by helping us see what happens in cells when a citrus plant is under attack from a virus. And with this chip we can better understand what happens at the cellular level when oranges are put in cold storage after they are harvested, leading eventually to better methods of storage that improve fruit flavor."

Manufactured by Affymetrix, Inc., the GeneChip® Citrus Genome Array is made up of a glass wafer on to which nearly one million different pieces of citrus DNA are deposited on a grid or microarray using methods similar to those used to produce computer chips. The glass wafer is encased in a plas
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Source:University of California - Riverside


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