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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 #439243

Research Project: Applying Biotechnology Techniques to Improve Tomato in the US and Philippines

Location: Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research

Project Number: 8062-21000-047-28-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 15, 2020
End Date: Sep 14, 2021

Objective:
To apply genome editing technologies to manipulate tomato functional genes or regulatory elements to generate novel gene sequences with agriculturally relevant functions.

Approach:
Prior to project initiation, gene targets with potential to confer or regulate disease resistance or susceptibility will be identified for genetic manipulation in tomato (e.g., gene editing, RNAi or ectopic expression). Specific diseases of tomato of interest both in the Philippines and the U.S. will be initially identified and 1-3 gene targets likely to influence one or several important disease problems (e.g. tomato yellow leaf curl virus) will be identified. As a proof-of-concept, ARS scientists in Ithaca, NY will focus their efforts in developing novel tomato genetic materials with resistance to Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV). There are currently six known Ty resistance genes in tomato against TYLCV. Four of these genes (Ty1, Ty2, TY3 and ty5) have been identified and sequenced and two others (Ty4 and Ty6) mapped. The ty-5 is a recessive gene which could be a good target for genome editing. Other five Ty genes are dominant and would need to target some regulatory elements to regulate the expression of these genes to improve resistance to TYLCV. Specifically we will: 1. Develop and validate gene editing and/or expression constructs for selected genes of interest in collaboration with Philippine scientist(s) and collaborating USDA scientists in South Carolina. (4-6 months) 2. Transformation and genetic assessment to validate gene edits or transgene integrations - performed in the U.S. and/or the Philippines. (1 year) The proposed research activities use tomato as a model system. Once some breakthroughs are achieved on disease resistance for tomato using gene-editing and/or other biotechnological approaches, the same strategy and technology could be applied to other crops and traits of mutual interest to the U.S. and the Philippines.