UK horticultural crop research organisation NIAB EMR has appointed Dr Andrew Simkin to lead its emerging fruit quality and development research programme.
Dr Simkin will be expanding NIAB EMR’s capabilities in fruit quality research in perennial and annual horticultural crops, tackling the challenge of improving the flavour and health benefits associated with fruit consumption. He will be joining NIAB EMR’s increasingly successful Genetics, Genomics and Breeding (GGB) Team, responsible for Malling Centenary, one of the most sought after strawberry varieties currently in the marketplace, as well as world-leading perennial genomics expertise, such as the BBSRC and industry-funded international consortium sequencing the octoploid strawberry.
Researchers have sequenced the genome of the whitefly (Bemisia tabici), an invasive insect responsible for spreading plant viruses worldwide, causing billions of dollars in crop losses each year.
The genome study, led by Associate Professor Zhangjun Fei of the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI; USA), offers many clues to the insect’s remarkable ability to resist pesticides, transmit more than 300 plant viruses, and to feed on at least 1,000 different plant species. Published in the journal BMC Biology, the study will serve as a foundation for future work to combat this global pest.
Scientists have developed a new improved method for capturing longer DNA fragments, doubling the size up to 7000 DNA bases that can be analysed for novel genes which provide plants with immunity to disease.