Dr. Janet Slovin
Strawberry System for Testing Gene Function
We have developed two lines of inbred diploid strawberry that are useful for assessing the potential of specific genes to improve crop production and quality in strawberry and other members of the family Rosaceae, and in herbaceous perennials in general. Our system consists of the woodland strawberry, Fragaria vesca, which has several of the characteristics that make Arabidopsis a good model system for gene discovery and determining gene function.
The F. vesca variety "Yellow Wonder" was selfed for seven generations and the most vigorous and earliest flowering plants were chosen at each generation. The Yellow Wonder variety is dayneutral, does not runner, and has yellow fruit. Two lines, 5AF7 and 6F7 were picked for further experiments. These plants have a generation time of ~3.5 months from seed to seed, flower and set fruit in 4" pots, and produce well over 100 seed per fruit. F. vesca seeds can be sterilized and grown on agar medium in much the same way as Arabidopsis seeds.
We are developing assays for stress tolerance based on root or hypocotyl length, and number of secondary roots using aseptic seedlings growing on the surface of vertically placed agar plates. These aseptic seedlings are also useful for making cDNA libraries that are not contaminated with fungal or bacterial sequences and that include root and shoot tips as well as leaf tissue.