Submitted to: American Society of Beet Sugar Technologists Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/1/2003
Publication Date: 6/30/2003
Citation: Mcgrath, J.M. 2003. Alphabet soup for beets: status of ests, bacs, rils and other genomic sundries. American Society of Beet Sugar Technologists Proceedings. p. 261-266.
Technical Abstract: Dogma holds that phenotype = genotype + environment; DNA makes RNA makes protein; and form follows function. In regards to sugar beet, this means that the beet's work is accomplished in large part by proteins; that proteins (via genes) are inherited from the parents; and expression of genes is influenced by environment (and also development). By understanding beet proteins deduced from gene sequences, whose function can be inferred from other well-characterized protein forms, we can begin to build a conceptual framework for the types of work that a beet must accomplish in order to be profitable to growers and industry. This report considers the progress in building the tools that will enable such a framework. These prerequisites are mainly the tools of genomics, which encompass everything you wanted to know about the inner workings of beets (but were afraid to ask). For instance, as of February 2003, over 19,500 Expressed Sequence Tags are available, a 5X coverage Bacterial Artificial Chromosome library has been constructed, and 5,000 Recombinant Inbred Lines are being developed. These efforts will continue to require close cooperation among ARS, industry, and academic scientists. These tools are freely available now and will likely remain so in the future. Already, problems previously considered intractable are beginning to yield insight upon application of these tools. Progress is likely to accelerate in the future, as these genomics investments can be leveraged with scientific expertise inside and outside of the sugar beet community.