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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Hilo, Hawaii » Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center » Tropical Plant Genetic Resources and Disease Research » Research » Research Project #434947

Research Project: Genetic Improvement and Sustainable Production Systems for Sub-tropical and Tropical Crops in the Pacific Basin

Location: Tropical Plant Genetic Resources and Disease Research

Project Number: 2040-21000-017-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: May 31, 2018
End Date: May 30, 2023

Objective 1: Develop papayas with superior disease resistance and value added traits. Sub-objective 1A: Generate papaya lines with wide-spectrum resistance to papaya ringspot virus. Sub-objective 1B: Breed new papaya cultivars with superior disease resistance, quality, flavor, and value added products. Objective 2: Devise integrated horticultural management practices and enhanced germplasm to improve plant health, yield, quality, and product value of coffee. Sub-objective 2A: Evaluate coffee rootstocks to identify genotypes with resistance or tolerance to root-knot nematodes under field conditions. Sub-objective 2B: Evaluate horticultural practices to identify those that yield optimal vegetative growth, flowering, fruiting, and quality of coffee. Sub-objective 2C: Combine the preceding knowledge into an integrated package of genetic and horticultural management solutions to optimize coffee production in Hawai'i. Sub-objective 2D: Evaluate selected coffee genetic resources and experimental mapping and breeding populations for resistance and susceptibility to different genetic types of coffee leaf rust (CLR); apply integrated genomic and quantitative genetic approaches to the evaluation results to ascertain the quantitative and functional genetic bases for coffee host-plant resistance to CLR; and armed with the preceding knowledge, devise and apply optimal genetic enhancement and breeding designs and strategies to breed superior new coffee varieties with resistance to CLR, profitable yields, and superior cupping quality. Sub-objective 2E: Conduct microbial genomic and bioinformatics research to elucidate the content and genetic structure of beneficial and pathogenic soil microbiome communities associated with the rhizosphere of macadamia trees and coffee plants, as a means of controlling pathogens occupying soils and assembling soil microbial communities that maximize macadamia tree and coffee plant health and productivity. Objective 3: Genetic improvement of disease and pest resistances and ornamental traits in anthuriums. Sub-objective 3A: Identify and assess the efficacy of selected transgenes for controlling burrowing nematode, Radopholus similus in anthurium. Sub-objective 3B: Identify metabolic pathways and molecular components governing novel flower color traits in anthurium. Sub-objective 3C: Generate and assess anthurium plants with transgenes for enhanced resistance to plant-parasitic nematodes and bacterial diseases, and novel flower colors.

Objective 1: Focus on improving for disease resistance and improved appearance of papaya through both molecular and conventional breeding. Sub-objective 1A: Utilize Clustered Regularly Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 or alternatively Cas9/ subgenomic RNA (sgRNA) directed mutation of an endogenous papaya gene eIF4E or eIF(iso)4E gene to confer broad viral resistance resulting in commercial papaya cultivars with wide-spectrum resistance to papaya ringspot virus (PRSV) and related viruses using a combination of transformation and crossing. Sub-objective 1B: Develop commercially acceptable papaya cultivars with PRSV resistance, blemish free skin, and improved flavor using conventional breeding and selection. Objective 2: Develop coffee management practices to facilitate coffee harvest and improve resistance to pests such as nematodes and CBB. Sub-objective 2A: Use grafting techniques to test if yields of Arabica coffee will be higher when grafted on Coffea canephora 'Nemaya' rootstock in nematode (Meloidogyne konaensis) infested fields when compared to un-grafted trees. Sub-objective 2B: Focus on a combination of pruning, fertilization, and applications of plant growth regulators to synchronize coffee flowering and subsequent fruit development to concentrate harvests and reduce the amount of immature berries at the end of the growing season. Sub-objective 2C: Use the on farm site surveys to evaluate commercial strain of Beauveria bassiana GHA to help to mitigate damage caused by the coffee berry borer in commercial coffee farms. Objective 3: Utilize transient expression and functional analysis of genes to identify key effectors of nematode resistance and pigment production and use transformation to generate bacterial and nematode resistant anthurium varieties. Sub-objective 3A: Use transient expression of genes involved with nematode resistance to identify potential transcripts for control of the burrowing nematode, Radopholus similis, and improve transformation efficiency for anthuriums. Sub-objective 3B: Use molecular techniques for functional analysis of regulatory genes or biosynthetic genes for pigment pathways and identification of organ-specific promoters to prove that genes identified by sequence homology will function in anthurium color pathways similar to those reported in model systems. Sub-objective 3C: Use molecular transformation to generate and assess anthurium plants with transgenes for resistance to plant-parasitic nematodes and bacterial diseases.