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Creators/Authors contains: "Lippman, Zachary B."

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  1. Abstract

    Advancing crop genomics requires efficient genetic systems enabled by high-quality personalized genome assemblies. Here, we introduce RagTag, a toolset for automating assembly scaffolding and patching, and we establish chromosome-scale reference genomes for the widely used tomato genotype M82 along with Sweet-100, a new rapid-cycling genotype that we developed to accelerate functional genomics and genome editing in tomato. This work outlines strategies to rapidly expand genetic systems and genomic resources in other plant species.

  2. Abstract The highly diverse Solanaceae family contains several widely studied models and crop species. Fully exploring, appreciating, and exploiting this diversity requires additional model systems. Particularly promising are orphan fruit crops in the genus Physalis, which occupy a key evolutionary position in the Solanaceae and capture understudied variation in traits such as inflorescence complexity, fruit ripening and metabolites, disease and insect resistance, self-compatibility, and most notable, the striking inflated calyx syndrome (ICS), an evolutionary novelty found across angiosperms where sepals grow exceptionally large to encapsulate fruits in a protective husk. We recently developed transformation and genome editing in Physalis grisea (groundcherry). However, to systematically explore and unlock the potential of this and related Physalis as genetic systems, high-quality genome assemblies are needed. Here, we present chromosome-scale references for P. grisea and its close relative Physalis pruinosa and use these resources to study natural and engineered variations in floral traits. We first rapidly identified a natural structural variant in a bHLH gene that causes petal color variation. Further, and against expectations, we found that CRISPR–Cas9-targeted mutagenesis of 11 MADS-box genes, including purported essential regulators of ICS, had no effect on inflation. In a forward genetics screen, we identified huskless, which lacksmore »ICS due to mutation of an AP2-like gene that causes sepals and petals to merge into a single whorl of mixed identity. These resources and findings elevate Physalis to a new Solanaceae model system and establish a paradigm in the search for factors driving ICS.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 21, 2023
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  4. Uncovering the genes, variants, and interactions underlying crop diversity is a frontier in plant genetics. Phenotypic variation often does not reflect the cumulative effect of individual gene mutations. This deviation is due to epistasis, in which interactions between alleles are often unpredictable and quantitative in effect. Recent advances in genomics and genome-editing technologies are elevating the study of epistasis in crops. Using the traits and developmental pathways that were major targets in domestication and breeding, we highlight how epistasis is central in guiding the behavior of the genetic variation that shapes quantitative trait variation. We outline new strategies that illuminate how quantitative epistasis from modified gene dosage defines background dependencies. Advancing our understanding of epistasis in crops can reveal new principles and approaches to engineering targeted improvements in agriculture.
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  6. The dominance of the major crops that feed humans and their livestock arose from agricultural revolutions that increased productivity and adapted plants to large-scale farming practices. Two hormone systems that universally control flowering and plant architecture, florigen and gibberellin, were the source of multiple revolutions that modified reproductive transitions and proportional growth among plant parts. Although step changes based on serendipitous mutations in these hormone systems laid the foundation, genetic and agronomic tuning were required for broad agricultural benefits. We propose that generating targeted genetic variation in core components of both systems would elicit a wider range of phenotypic variation. Incorporating this enhanced diversity into breeding programs of conventional and underutilized crops could help to meet the future needs of the human diet and promote sustainable agriculture.