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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Genetic Improvement for Fruits & Vegetables Laboratory » Research » Research Project #445122

Research Project: Species-Specific Gene Expression in Response to Temperature Stress in Cranberry Interspecific Hybrids

Location: Genetic Improvement for Fruits & Vegetables Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-21000-023-002-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2023
End Date: Aug 31, 2024

Maintaining crop production in a changing environment will be challenging. One approach to adaption to climate extremes is through interspecific hybridization wherein the species used for hybridization are closely related but thrive in different climates or habitats. Our objective is to examine species-specific gene expression in F1 hybrids of Vaccinium macrocarpon x V. oxycoccos (large and small-fruited cranberry, respectively) in response to temperature stress, as a proxy for climate change. Gene expression will be evaluated in the context of genes under selection in the respective species as well as how these genes are differentially controlled in the hybrid state. Subgenome dominance will be assessed to determine how resilience in the hybrid is achieved. Network analysis of both genes under selection and/or showing subgenome dominance will be conducted to identify nodes for marker development and future breeding efforts. Results will be leveraged to better understand hybrid response to changing climates as well as provide new insight into the domestication and development of novel crop species or combinations thereof for future food protection.

F1 hybrids (5 accessions) of Vaccinium macrocarpon x V. oxycoccos, as well as a V. macrocarpon control (cv. Stevens) will be exposed to temperature stresses in incubators. At three time points, leaf tissue will be collected and immediately frozen in liquid nitrogen. RNA will be extracted and used for RNAseq on a long-read sequencing platform (e.g. the Oxford Nanopore Promethion). Resulting sequences will be mapped to the species-respective high quality genome assemblies and quantified for differential expression.