Scientists sequence genome of woodland strawberry

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Washington, Jan 12 (ANI): Scientists from the US Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service claim to have sequenced the genome of the woodland strawberry.

Fragaria vesca, commonly known as the woodland or alpine strawberry, is a member of the Rosaceae family, which consists of more than 100 genera and 3,000 species.

This large family includes many economically important and popular fruit, nut, ornamental and woody crops, such as almond, apple, peach, cherry, raspberry, strawberry and rose.

The researchers said that the woodland strawberry might serve as a 'model system' for other plants in the Rosaceae plant family Its small size and rapid life cycle enable researchers to conduct genetic analyses with great efficiency and low cost.

ARS molecular biologist Janet Slovin, with the Genetic Improvement of Fruits and Vegetables Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., created the nearly inbred line used in the F. vesca genome sequencing project.

Named "Hawaii 4," this line allowed the researchers to more easily program a computer to piece the genome together from the relatively short lengths of sequence data generated by modern sequencing machines.

Although the F. vesca genome is a model genome for the Rosaceae group, critical regulatory gene functions will probably differ, hypothesizes Slovin.

Scientists can use the genome sequence to identify these genes, to test their function in F. vesca, and to develop molecular genetic markers for more rapid breeding of crops belonging to the Rosaceae group.

Slovin will use the genome to study and improve heat tolerance during fruit production in strawberry.

The findings were presented at Plant and Animal Genome Conference in San Diego, California. (ANI)

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