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Project Director:

Richard Michelmore (The Genome Center, University of California, Davis)

Co-Project Directors:

Ryan Hayes, USDA ARS, Salinas.
Michael Cahn, University of California Cooperative Extension, Salinas.
Richard Howitt, University of California, Davis.
Steve Koike, University of California Cooperative Extension, Salinas.
Yaguang Luo, USDA, Beltsville.
Ivan Simko, USDA ARS, Salinas.
Richard Smith, University of California Cooperative Extension, Salinas.
David Still, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.
Krishna Subbarao, University of California, Davis.

Summary:

Lettuce is one of the most valuable vegetable crops in the U.S. This Standard Research and Extension Project will increase the efficiency of lettuce breeding, enhance quality, reduce losses, and train breeding personnel to operate in a data-rich environment. We will integrate genetic and genomic approaches to determine the genetic basis of horticulturally important traits and to exploit information generated from model plant species, especially Arabidopsis, for lettuce improvement. We will develop and apply methods for identifying and manipulating genes in lettuce, particularly high-throughput sequencing and marker-assisted selection, to aid in identification and introgression of beneficial alleles from wild germplasm. We will select combinations of genes that provide superior horticultural performance and, in the long term, release advanced breeding lines that are resistant to multiple diseases, have improved nutritional and post-harvest quality, are slow bolting, and have tipburn resistance as well as improved water and nitrogen use efficiencies. We will curate a public database for genetic and genomic information of lettuce. We will continue our close interactions with commercial lettuce breeders and growers to ensure relevance and rapid application of our research. This SR&EP will have immediate and long-term benefits to U.S. agriculture by increasing the quality of one of the most widely consumed vegetables in the U.S. It addresses the SCRI focus areas of 1) research in plant breeding, genetics and genomics to improve multiple crop characteristics, particularly in the Compositae as well as 2) threats from pests and diseases to sustainable crop production.

Funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture(NIFA) of the USDA Speciality Crop Research Initiative(SCRI), Award No.2010-51181-21631.

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