1. List of senior personnel
2. Summary of Scientific Objectives and Approaches
The overall goal of this NSF project is to establish tools for use in apple functional genomics. The apple, Malus x domestica Borkh., is the most important deciduous tree fruit crop grown in the United States. This project will focus on developing genomic research tools and genome expression studies addressing flowering, fruiting, and pathogen response on a genome-wide scale. The first phase of this project is to construct an expressed sequence tag (EST) database of 120,000 sequences from flowering and fruiting tissues, and from tissues responding to pathogen infection, specifically to the bacterial pathogen Erwinia amylovora (the causal organism of fire blight disease) and to the fungal pathogen Venturia inaequalis (the causal organism of apple scab disease). These will be used to generate a set of 30,000 "unigene" set. This information will be fed to an educational and outreach effort to develop educational modules for high school teachers, youth, and the general public.
3. Expected Broader Impact of Proposed Project
This will be the only apple genomics project to generate a public database in the world, and therefore will have a significant impact on the apple research community as well as genomic research studies of other perennial plants. The ever-expanding sequence information as well as current comparative sequence analysis studies suggests that higher plants have adequate sequence similarity to deduced amino acid sequences of other plant genes, yet developmental diversity of higher plants is likely influenced by minor changes in the structure and/or expression of a gene or a few number of genes. Developing such a large-scale research resource for the apple will contribute to our fundamental knowledge of biological processes in higher plants unique to long-lived flowering and fruiting trees. It will also contribute to broadening our fundamental knowledge of these biological processes in other higher plants. In particular, the knowledge gained from the universal biology that is generated from gene and protein sequences from the apple genome will allow assigning function by comparing sequences of genes to those of known function. This in turn will be used for the genetic enhancement of this important crop as well as to other economically important genera belonging to the Rosaceae family.