Current Research Projects
Towards Genomic Selection in Forest Trees (2015-2019, USDA-NIFA Award #: 2016-67013-24469): My current research focuses on discovery and validation of informative SNP markers from publicly available DNA sequence data of loblolly pine. Genomic resources (validated SNP markers) will be organized into the TreeGenes database for community access. Leveraging the TreeGenes database, a PineSNPchip consortium will be established to bring the forest genetics community together to design SNP arrays. The predicted ability of markers for growth and disease resistance will be studied in populations of loblolly and sugar pine.
We expect the research results will have a broader impact. The pine genome is large (~23.2Gb) and complex, and methods developed in this project could be extended to crops and horticultural species with complex genomes.
Principal investigators: Jill Wegryzn (University of Connected), Andrew Eckert (Virginia Commonwealth University), Richard Sniezko (Forest Service, Dorena Genetic Resource Center), Juan Acosta (CAMCORE, NC State University).
Genetic Improvement of Pine for Fusiform Rust Disease Resistance (Supported by Forest Industry): A major threat to pine plantations in the southern USA. Research on fusiform rust disease includes new disease resistant gene discovery in elite pine clones, utilization of resistance genes in pine breeding programs and study of host pine genotypes by pathogen interactions.