WSU Scientists Make Genomes Available for Research


The unpredictable nature of pear ripening could be a thing of the past, since Washington State University has sequenced four new Rosaceae family genomes, including that of the Comice pear.

Amit Dhingra, a horticultural genomicist at WSU, led the researchers who sequenced the double haploid Comice pear, Golden Delicious double haploid apple, almond and Stella sweet cherry genomes.

Ultimately, the results will provide researchers with a better understanding of the Rosaceae family and will be used to address challenges that fruit tree growers and producers face from pests, drought, a plant's stress response and lack of nutrients.

The new information sheds light on biochemical regulation pathways for disease resistance, ways of protecting the food supply from environmental conditions and, of course, understanding the fruit ripening process. The genomes will help scientists understand how the fruits' functions have evolved-for example, why the peach and raspberry appear so different from each other when both are in the Rosaceae family.

"These crops have economic value, so understanding the genetics of these fruits dovetails perfectly with everything else WSU is doing to ensure the competitiveness of the industry," Dhingra said. "Sustainability also means being able to grow food with minimal environmental impacts."