The Science Seminar Series: September 27, 2012
Application of Biotechnology in Peanut Cultivar Improvement
Dr. Ye Chu
P. Ozias-Akins Horticulture Department
The University of Georgia Tifton Campus
Time: 4:00 -5:00pm
Peanut cultivation is challenged by biotic and abiotic stresses such as insects, viruses, fungi, salt and drought. In addition, improvement of peanut oil quality and the elimination of peanut allergens need to be addressed. Molecular biotechology was applied to these aspects of peanut cultivar improvement. Molecular markers tightly linked to a nematode resistant trait derived from wild diploid species and introgressed into allotetraploid peanut were developed using AFLP and SSR. Loss of function mutations in both alleles of oleoyl-PC desaturase (ahFAD2) leads to the production of high oleic peanut, which is preferred by the oil industry. Molecular markers targeting these mutations were developed. Markers for both traits were applied to an elite peanut breeding program and drastically shorten the time frame of breeding as compared to traditional methods. To improve tolerance to abiotic stress, an antiapoptotic gene, Bcl-xL, was integrated into peanut via biolistic bomobardment. Transgenic peanut lines were more resistant to stress as demonstrated by greater tolerence to herbicide than non-transgenic lines. Ara h 1, 2 and 6 are the most potent peanut allergens among the 11 identifed allergen proteins. Using RNAi constructs for Ara h2, transgenic lines showing significant down regulation of Ara h 2 and 6 were identified. The growth, development and viability of these transgenic lines appear to be normal. The silenced allergen lines will also provide useful material for functional proteomics studies.