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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Ithaca, New York » Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture & Health » Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research » Research » Research Project #436669

Research Project: BTT EAGER: Epi-TOM: The Development and Characterization of an EpiRIL TOMato Population

Location: Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research

Project Number: 8062-21000-047-014-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Mar 1, 2019
End Date: Feb 28, 2022

Thousands of tomato QTLs have been described with no information about what proportion is epigenetic. Genetic variation in cultivated tomato is limited, despite substantial phenotypic diversity suggesting a significant epigenetic component. It will benefit our understanding of the fundamental processes regulating gene expression and the metabolome and inform future breeding strategies in tomato and other crops to better understand the influence of epigenetic variation in crop biology and variation. To improve our understanding of epigenetics in crops we will exploit a population of tomato lines engineered to have substantial epigenetic variation, specifically in the context of DNA cytosine methylation, to assess the degree and stability of epigenetic variation.

We will study an epigenetically modified recombinant inbred line (epiRIL) population with a random distribution of epialleles, derived from a cross between a wild-type tomato line and one where a gene involved in maintaining DNA methylation {either DNA METHYTRANSFERASE-1 (MET1) or DNA DEMETHYTRANSFERASE-1 (DDM-1)} is compromised. The population will be grown in field and greenhouse settings to examine the nature and stability of epigenetic variants and their potential for utilization in crop improvement.