Alex Liu
Year: 2018
Faculty Advisor: Greg Martin

“Investigating[RR1]  unusual symptoms discovered in diverse tomato accessions in response to Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato”


Project Summary:

Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato (Pst) causes bacterial speck disease on leaves, stems, fruit, and flowers of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). In a screen of genetically diverse tomato accessions that included cultivated tomato and a closely related wild species (Solanum pimpinellifolium) to search for new sources of resistance to speck disease, we observed several unusual symptoms not typically observed with this disease. One of these unusual symptoms was primarily observed when S. pimpinellifolium was spray-inoculated with a locally-isolated strain of Pst.  We observed that this phenotype was simply inherited in an F2 population and segregated in a 3:1 ratio that was recessive.  We have focused on developing and testing markers to search for a chromosomal region linked to the phenotype. In addition to searching for the gene responsible for the phenotype, spray inoculations of different Pst knockout strains have been conducted to try to identify a potential molecular mechanism related to the unusual symptoms.

My Experience:

I have enjoyed my internship experience this summer very much and was able to learn many new skills and techniques throughout the course of my project. The experience of managing my own research project has helped me with my time management and organizational skills. In addition, I appreciated all the seminars and the bioinformatics course that the program organized. They exposed my to varying aspects of plant science research that I was not well acquainted with and I learned a lot. My experience at BTI has solidified my choice of pursuing research in the plant sciences.