Submitted to: American Society of Plant Biologists Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/17/2009
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The fresh and processed products of the Rosaceae plant family (almonds, apples, apricots, blackberries, peaches, pears, plums, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, roses) in the U.S. are valued at over $7 billion. Expansion of the genomics, genetics, and germplasm knowledge base of flower, fruit, and nut development, ripening, senescence, and microbial contamination is essential for maximizing and maintaining quality of these crops. Of the major Rosaceous crop plants, only strawberry has the efficient transformation systems that permit rapid elucidation of gene function. The octoploid (2n=8x=56) genome of the cultivated strawberry, Fragaria x ananassa is among the most complex of any crop species. However, the ~200 Mb size of the basic (x=7) strawberry genome ranks among the smallest of any cultivated crop species. The diploid woodland strawberry, F. vesca, has been developed as a system for rapid discovery in strawberry genetics and genomics, and as a reference plant for the Rosaceae family. Advantages of F. vesca include its self-fertility, fecundity, small plant size, short generation time (~3.5 months), amenability to genetic transformation, diverse germplasm base, and very small genome. F. vesca has been sequenced to ~20x coverage with 454 technologies. In addition to a sequenced genome, a diploid genetic map is rapidly being populated with markers, documented inbred lines are available, and a highly efficient transformation system facilitates insertion mutagenesis and direct assessment of gene function with overexpression or RNAi. A well-characterized F. vesca system enables us to begin developing useful assays to evaluate genes for their function in plant stress responses, fruit quality, disease resistance and a host of other horticulturally relevant traits.