Maddie Shaklee
Shaklee, Maddie
Year: 2022
Faculty Advisor: Zhangjun Fei
Mentor: Jingyin Yu

“Finding Genome Regions Associated with Pepper Fruit Shape Using Genome-Wide Association Study”

Project Summary:

Peppers are currently the fourth leading vegetable crop worldwide and are cultivated for an incredible amount of diversity in appearance. However, the genetic bases underlying their fruit shape variations are largely unknown. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) was preformed using high-density single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to identify genome regions associated with fruit shape variations of Capsicum baccatum. A region on chromosome 10 was found to be significantly associated with fruit shape. This candidate region harbored eighteen protein-coding genes, including one (Ca10g05148) encoding an OVATE family protein. OVATE family protein has been known as a key regulator of fruit shape in tomato and other fruit crops, and is thus the plausible candidate gene for fruit shape regulation in C. baccatum. This study provides novel genes for pepper fruit shape regulation and valuable information that could be used for fruit shape breeding for pepper and other crops.

My Experience:

This summer has been an amazing experience which has given me many new skills and opportunities. Most notably is the preparation I have gotten for future research and pursuing graduate studies. This summer has taught me about developing a project and seeing it to completion with the help of my mentor. I expanded my ability to troubleshoot and work through code issues on my own and carefully organize my work to improve future research. This has given me confidence to consider my future studies more seriously and understand what research I would like to participate in moving forward.