We are using CRISPR technology to develop clonal propagation in potatoes.
Potato (Solanum tuberosum) is the a crucial staple crop. At present, is mostly propagated from tubers. Growing potatoes from seeds would have several advantages over multiplication from tubers: less divergence of food supply to propagation, lower cost to farmers, longer planting seasons, and reduced transfer of pests and diseases, especially viruses. However, propagation with sexual seeds (TPS) leads to recombination and segregation of highly heterozygous tetraploid genome and seedlings arising from TPS have highly variable vigor and yield.
This projects aims to develop methods of clonal propagation through seeds in potato. The clonal seeds and resulting progeny maintain the parental genetic constitution (heterozygosity), and thus should be vigorous and uniform like the mother plant and also disease free due to seed propagation.
This project will utilize the capabilities of CRISPR-Cas9 to knockout genes regulating various steps involved in meiosis and modify the expression of genes capable of inducing parthenogenesis.
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