Researcher Name: German Sandoya-Miranda
Researcher Location: Everglades REC / Belle Glade
Co-Researchers: Preeti Ahuja, Mathews Paret, Matthew Smith, Adam Dale, Gisele Nighswander, Kayla Hess, Eban Bean, Jorge Barrera, Pierce Jones, Jennison Kipp Searcy, Philip Koehler, Will Wadlington
Project Title: Lettuce breeding for Bacterial Leaf Spot (BLS)
Project Focus Area: Plant Science
Project Location: Everglades REC / Belle Glade
Project Description: The long-term goal of this project is to assist the improvement of lettuce varieties to be best suited for growing in Florida. Specifically, our research focuses on characterizing the genetics of resistance to Bacterial Leaf Spot (BLS) in lettuce. BLS has caused millions of dollars of losses to the growers of the Everglades Agricultural Area and is the most damaging lettuce disease in Florida. The focus of this project is to investigate the inheritance of BLS resistance in the highly-resistant lettuce accession PI 358001-1. Traditional genetics experiments found that the highly resistant character of PI 358001-1 is caused by a single gene. BLS resistance has been mapped to linkage group 2 in a mapping population, but it is 13.5 cM from the closest marker. We are using contemporary Genotyping by Sequencing (GBS) SNP data to fine map BLS resistance. By identifying markers closely linked to the single gene conferring high-resistance, resistance from 358001-1 can be expediently transferred into other cultivars. There is no chemical control available to combat BLS. By identifying naturally occurring genetic loci associated with BLS resistance, we can breed lettuce that is naturally resistant to BLS.
Intern Duties: The intern will contribute to fine mapping BLS resistance genes in lettuce. Duties will be a mixture of lab, data analysis, and field work. Laboratory work may include basic molecular techniques, such as DNA extraction, PCR, and GBS library construction. Depending on the intern’s interests and background, the intern may preform QTL analysis of SNP or other marker data. Outside of lab, the intern will assist in lettuce cultivation, including planting, watering, disease screening, and making crosses. The field and greenhouse work will occur in hot, humid conditions in the Everglades Agricultural Area.