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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Pullman, Washington » Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing Research » Research » Research Project #442624

Research Project: Targeted Genomic Assisted Improvement of Seed Protein Concentration

Location: Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing Research

Project Number: 2090-21000-037-009-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 1, 2022
End Date: Jul 31, 2024

Objective:
The funds will be used to pay part of the annual salary and benefits of a postdoc, and of undergraduate student laborers, under the supervision of the cooperator, to generate a data set of protein levels of seeds from a panel of 183 lentil lines. Cooperator and other WSU faculty will supervise the analysis of genome-wide association data sets in pea and lentil; run metabolic pathway analyses; and find the best model to run genomic prediction; on these datasets. Cooperator will develop breeder friendly molecular markers to assist in the movement of high protein levels into new cultivars.

Approach:
The Lentil Diversity Panel of 183 lines was planted in a replicated field design with four replicates at the USDA-ARS Central Ferry Research Farm in 2020, 2021, and 2022. The postdoc will harvest the seeds from the 2022 field experiment, and then will grind seed from all three years. Ground samples will be used to generate the protein content dataset from seeds collected over all three years. This will be done by measuring nitrogen content and converting these numbers into protein content using a known conversion ratio with the assistance of the cooperator. The cooperator already has a very extensive genotypic sequencing dataset on all lines in the panel. With the cooperator's assistance, the postdoc will perform genome-wide association analysis to find which base pairs in the sequence are associated with higher protein content. Results from this analysis will be used to run a metabolic pathway analysis, to determine what cellular pathways and mechanisms the plants are using to build more proteins. Finally the postdoc, with WSU cooperators, will run a genomic prediction of protein content in the lentil panels to determine if protein levels can be predicted based on the sequencing data. This will be confirmed in an independent population of lentil lines. The cooperator will develop breeder friendly molecular markers to assist in the movement of high protein levels into new cultivars.