Location: Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research
Project Number: 8062-21000-047-008-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Feb 1, 2018
End Date: Jan 31, 2023
The objective of this cooperative research project is to identify and functionally test genes that are important in the regulation of plant compounds with known or potential human health benefits. In doing so, we will identify candidates for manipulation through traditional breeding or transgenic strategies for enhancement of phytonutrients in plant-based foods and we will additionally develop basic knowledge regarding the genetic mechanisms underlying the synthesis and accumulation of target compounds. Specific compounds of interest under this project will be carotenoids, flavonoids, ascorbate, and folic acid.
The general approach of this cooperative research project will entail continued utilization of emerging genomics technologies to identify genes related to phytonutrient accumulation in tomato with a secondary effort on melon. We will continue to screen tomato genomic databases (including our own and developed under prior activities with the collaborator) to identify genes influencing nutrient and phytonutrient levels. Genes will be targeted for editing to modify or nullify function. The cooperator is proficient in CRISPR/CAS9 use and tomato transformation. ARS is proficient in tomato gene expression, genome sequencing, epigenome analysis and in physiological and genome analysis of stable transformed tomato lines. The complementary skills and mutual interests of the ARS and the collaborator make this an ideal collaboration.