Student - November 6, 2008

RESEARCHING THE CUCUMBER GENOME

Wageningen UR will be participating in a project together with Dutch and Chinese seed companies with the quest of learning the details of the cucumber genome.

This project is connected to a top institute in China, Green Genetics, which is working in tandem with the Chinese Agricultural Ministry. Chinese researchers have already determined the DNA-sequence for the cucumber genome. ‘However, we still only have a lot of A’s, T’s and G’s for which we have not yet assigned a value.’ said Professor Richard Visser who is closely associated with this project.‘First, we need to take a look at their usefulness and quality of the sequences which the Chinese have made. Then, we can perhaps pair genes to characteristics. Visser hopes that with this genome knowledge the cucumbers genetic variations can be broadened. ‘Genetic variation is now somewhat limited and that makes it troublesome if you would like to crossbreed to introduce disease resistance qualities. With additional genome knowledge you can crossbreed with more focus on these resistantance.

Wageningen UR is investing 75 thousand euros in this million euro project, half of which will pay for the project’s Dutch participants. Along with Wageningen UR, financing will be coming from pesticide businesses and from the top institute, that has received money from the Dutch government in order to strengthen the level of knowledge and the competitiveness of Dutch pesticide firms.

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