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Kinnowls Mandarin

Background: California is one of the largest citrus producers in the world, and the demand for fresh citrus fruit that is seedless or low-seeded is on the rise. ‘Kinnow’ is the currently popular mandarin cultivar that covers 80% of all citrus trees in the Middle Eastern regions. Despite its fecundity in this region, it is very seedy and contains about 15-30 seeds per fruit. Therefore, there is high demand for mandarins that can not only withstand diverse climate conditions but have a low seed count.  Brief Description: ‘KinnowLS’ is a mandarin selection developed by mutation breeding of the diploid mandarin cultivar ‘Kinnow’, having only two to three seeds per fruit in all situations of cross-pollination. It is a mid- to late-season maturing diploid mandarin that combines large-sized fruit of excellent quality and production with low seed content even in mixed plantings. ‘KinnowLS’ exhibits vertical tree growth habits, which allows it to produce a large and dense crown. This novel hybrid could be successful in a mid-to-late season marketing window which currently has few low-seeded, high quality cultivars.

Plant Signals Regulating Cell Death And Detoxification

In plants, cellular damage results in the enzymatic and nonenzymatic peroxidation of fatty acids (FAs) termed “oxylipins.” Specific oxylipins function as direct antimicrobial defenses and plant signaling molecules that regulate diverse processes including development, reproduction, stress acclimation, and innate immune responses against pests and pathogens. Enzymatic biosynthesis can be initiated by lipase-based cleavage of linoleic acid (18:2) or α-linolenic acid (18:3) from membrane lipids and subsequent dioxygenation by lipoxygenases (LOXs) with regiospecificity at carbons 9 or 13. The most studied 13-LOX 18:3-derived plant oxylipins are 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (12-OPDA) and jasmonic acid (JA). In plants, 12-OPDA and JA (termed jasmonates) are key oxidation products that regulate diverse processes in development and innate immunity.

Isolation Of A Gene That Regulates The Strength Of Abscisic Acid Signal Transduction

As climate change has an increasingly greater impact on the environment, some regions are likely to get wetter while other regions are going to get drier. Therefore there is need to identify new ways to render agricultural plants more drought tolerant and effective in limiting transpirational water loss. The plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA) regulates a plant’s many important responses to stress. In seeds, ABA is responsible for the accumulation of nutritive reserves, tolerance for desiccation, maturation and dormancy.During vegetative growth, ABA is central in triggering plant responses to drought, salt stress and cold.A rapid response to drought that is mediated by ABA is stomatal closure.Stomata on the leaf surface are formed by pairs of guard cells whose turgor regulates stomatal pore apertures. ABA induces stomatal closure by triggering cytosolic calcium increases, which regulate ion channels in guard cells. Therefore modulating ABA activity in plants can be used to confer drought tolerance on plants.

Drug-Like Compounds That Enhance Plant Immunity And Growth

Background: Due to the rapidly increasing demand of food production, agricultural biotechnology companies are aiming to improve crop productivity. Biotechnology tools that develop novel plant traits are projected to have a $1.3B global market with annual growth of 49.9% by 2019.  Brief Description: UCR Researchers have developed a drug-like compound, HTC, that is structurally distinct from other agrochemicals and will rapidly induce an immune response in plants to ward off pathogens. Only a small dose of this novel compound is needed for optimal protection as well as growth enhancement. By genetically engineering the plant to have a stronger inherent immune system, toxic chemicals like pesticides are no longer needed to protect the plant. Its implementation can render decreased usage of agrochemicals that are harmful to humans and the environment.

Non-Transgenic Haploid Plant Induction Lines

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have identified non-transgenic mutant plants capable of generating haploid offspring.

Redirecting Cytosol Lipid Droplets for Enhanced Production

Background: Lipids (oils) produced by plants and photosynthetic microorganisms are used for general cooking, health food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and biodiesel. The current methods to produce oils with photosynthetic microorganisms are inefficient, since the cells must undergo extreme stress for lipid droplet (LD) accumulation and then be killed for extraction. Accumulation of LDs in the cytosol generates metabolic feedback inhibition. Some of these problems also apply to oil production with plants. A more efficient production practice is needed to meet high consumer and commercial demands.  Brief Description: UCR researchers have developed a method to optimize oil synthesis in microorganisms and plants by redirecting cytosolic LDs to the cell vacuoles. They successfully identified and modified a specific protein involved in directing lipids to various areas within the cell. Through restructuring and adding novel peptides, researchers were then able to re-route the fate of lipids into vacuoles (storage warehouses), thus eliminating metabolic feedback inhibition. Currently, they are also working towards achieving redirection of lipids to the cell exterior for excretion.

Agents That Modulate Exocyst Function

Background: The global market for drug discovery technologies and products is expected to reach $80B by 2019. Although there is high market potential and recent progress in developing small molecule drugs, a better understanding of cancer genetics is needed. Target validation and selection are the most labor-intensive steps in drug discovery and development, especially when looking for cancer drug candidates, due to many different etiologies.  Brief Description: UCR researchers have discovered a novel small molecule that inhibits exocyst functions in plant and human cells. Exocysts are involved in cell migration and growth, which are essential processes when dealing with tissue formation, wound healing, immune responses and more. There is potential in drug discovery by inhibiting exocyst components and potentially suppressing further cancer growth. Researchers have also identified that their novel molecule can redirect proteins from the plasma membrane to the vacuole.

Controlling Stomatal Apertures, Water Transpiration and Water Use Efficiency in Plants

Plants exchange carbon dioxide and water through stomatal pores located in the epidermis of leaves and stems. Carbon dioxide is taken up for photosynthesis and water is lost through transpiration through the stomatal pore. The stomatal pore is made up of specialized cells called guard cells that balance the plants need for carbon dioxide uptake and water loss by opening and closing of the pores in response to environmental conditions. Stomata open in response to low levels of carbon dioxide and will close when the levels are high. Knowledge of how atmospheric CO2 is perceived by the guard cells could be used to manipulate plant CO2 responses so that the carbon and water use efficiency during plant growth could be optimized.

Non-Dormant Alfalfa Line 2525-14 Having A High Transformation Efficiency

Researchers at UC Davis have produced a non-dormant alfalfa line highly amenable to transformation, allowing direct improvement of the line. Higher transformation efficiency and a non-dormant life-cycle make this line of alfalfa a valuable tool for research and breeding.

Novel Diagnostic Methods for Citrus Stubborn Disease

Background: Citrus greening disease, also known as huanglongbing (HLB), is a stubborn bacterial disease caused by insect-transmission and phloem-limited bacterial pathogens. It has been a serious threat to the US citrus industry, decimating many citrus trees and costing the economy $11B in damages annually. The most commonly used method of nucleic-acid based pathogen detection has issues with low-titer (low concentration of antibodies to antigen) and cannot handle the erratic distribution of the pathogens.   Brief Description: UCR researchers have developed a proof-of-concept for using secreted proteins of bacterial pathogens to detect bacterial diseases. These abundant and stable secreted proteins serve as robust detection markers for immunoassay-based diagnostics. Compared to current methods, this novel method is more high-throughput, economical, and able to monitor the pathogens dispersed throughout the plant transportation system.

Novel Multiplex Assay Detects Citrus Pathogens

Background: Citrus greening disease, also known as huanglongbing (HLB), has been a serious, pervasive problem caused by a multitude of plant pathogens. It has decimated many citrus trees, drastically decreasing orange production and costing the US economy an estimated $11B every year. Currently, there is no cure for HLB, so the citrus industry is in dire need for a cost-effective method of early HLB detection.  Brief Description: UCR Researchers have developed a means to detect and identify multiple plant pathogens for disease diagnosis, including citrus greening disease. By developing a novel multiplex RNA assay, they discovered ten targets of nine citrus pathogens and a citrus control gene. In addition to the assays, target-specific probes were designed and implemented to improve the pathogen detection process. These assays were also coupled with high-throughput robotic extraction and purification procedures, optimized for citrus tissues. Furthermore, they also developed a 3-plex DNA assay system along with 3 targets for simultaneous detection, identification and quantification of plant pathogens.

'FairchildLS' Mandarin

Background: Over the years, the world renowned Citrus Experiment Station became the foundation of  the UC Riverside campus, where citrus breeding and agricultural research remain at the forefront.  UCR’s premier citrus breeding program varieties are  licensed worldwide, and some have been considered by professional taste panels to be one of the best flavored citrus in the world. Description: ‘FairchildLS,’  a mandarin developed by mutation breeding, is  seedless or low-seeded in all situations of cross-pollination. It has a moderately smooth texture and a sweet, rich fruit flavor. Easy to peel and with a deep orange color, the ‘FairchildLS’ is an attractive citrus that is popular and sought-out by the citrus industry. 

'Gold Nugget' Mandarin

Background: California is one of the largest citrus producers in the world, and the demand for fresh citrus fruit that is seedless or low-seeded is on the rise. W. Murcott mandarin is the currently popular mandarin cultivar that has been known worldwide for its high quality and about 2-3 million trees have been widely planted throughout California over the past decade. Unfortunately, isolation of citrus orchards have been difficult and consequently, W. murcott mandarins have become very seedy due to cross pollination by other citrus varieties. Therefore, consumer demands for mandarins that can maintain a low seed count and high-quality is increasing.  Brief Description: UCR researchers developed the ‘Gold Nugget’ mandarin which is a hybrid of ‘Wilking’ and ‘Kincy’ mandarins. that has a deep orange colored flesh, extremely fine texture, and is low-seeded in all situations of cross pollination. This medium sized mandarin grows vigorously in upright form and has outstanding storage characteristics on its trees. It matures in mid- to late-season.

Small RNAs From Fungal Pathogens Suppress Plant's Immunity

Background:  Botrytis cinerea, the causative agent of grey mold disease, is a fungal pathogen that infects more than 200 plant species. In the inveterate “arms race” between plant and pathogen, pathogens have evolved effector proteins to counteract the immune responses of host plants. Description: Researchers at UCR have discovered that small RNAs from fungal pathogens act as effector molecules to suppress host immunity. Novel evidence has shown that certain small RNAs produced by B. cinerea, silence host genes and facilitate infection by sabotaging the host plant’s immune system. 

Novel Compounds Modulating Ethylene in Plants

Background: Many plant growers wish to control or speed the process of the plant growth in order to benefit the needs of plant buyers and exporters. A way to do this is inducing Ethylene, a natural plant hormone that expedites the ripening process. Description: UCR researchers have developed methods and compounds to control ethylene responses in plants. These compounds provide the possibility of inducing ethylene response in a plant that has absence of significant ethylene or one that is not responsive of ethylene. They can be incorporated into daily  treatments given to plants.   

Novel peptide capable of stimulating disease resistance in plants

UC Davis researchers have discovered raxX, a novel peptide that activates the Xa21 immune response pathway, capable of conferring robust disease resistance, and methods for its use. Application of the peptide activates the plant immune responses and eliminating bacterial infection. Engineering plants to express both raxX and Xa21 under an inducible control is expected to lead to robust resistance in diverse plant species.

A Genomic Scale Artificial Micro RNA Library as a Tool to Investigate the Functionally Redundant Gene Space tn Arabidopsis Thaliana

Traditional forward genetic screens are limited in the identification of homologous genes with overlapping functions. Screening methods based on artificial micro RNAs (amiRNAs) harbor the potential to overcome genetic redundancy by specifically reducing expression and ultimately function of multiple homologous genes.

Methods for Selecting Plants After Genome Editing

Researchers at UC Davis have discovered methods of selecting plants with targeted genome edits without resorting to tissue culture or selectable transgenes. The resulting method is a non-transgenic approach that avoids the off-target background mutations generated by selection in tissue culture.

Novel Methods and Compositions for Epigenetic Gene Silencing in Plants

Dr. Steve Jacobsen and colleagues in UCLA’s Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute have developed novel methods and compositions for targeted genetic repression in plants. The technology has broad agricultural applications.    

Improved Xylan Extraction

Brief description not available

Improving Plant Stress Tolerance through Chloroplast Stability Control

Chloroplast vesiculation can be down-regulated to increase plant tolerance to biotic and abiotic stress. Conversely, up-regulation of the same process enhances nutrient assimilation in young tuber, seed, root and fruit tissue. The resulting invention allows the creation of plants having greater stress tolerance, or higher nutritional content, or both.

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