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Pomology and Environmental Physiology Laboratory

Research

  1. 1) Photoinhibition in relation to environmental stresses
    Crop plants are frequently exposed to environmental stresses including chilling and drought. Environmental stresses often cause photoinhibition which occurs whenever light is absorbed in excess of the capacity of chloroplast to utilize the absorbed photon energy for electron transport and CO₂ fixation. Our current research emphasis is in the physiological and biochemical under standing of how plants protect themselves against excess light. The protection systems from photoinhibition include the dissipation of excess photon energy through carotenoids and xanthophyll cycle and the detoxification of active oxygen species by antioxidants and antioxidative enzymes. Our research strategy involves molecular, biochemical, and whole plant studies.
  2. 2) Construction of genetic map and development of molecular markers
    Genetic study and breeding of fruit trees have been suffered with difficulties from large number of chromosome, long juvenility, high level of heterozygosity, limited crosses due to self- and cross-incompatibility, and high demand of space, time, labor, and cost for population establishment and management. Recent development of various molecular marker techniques based on polymerase chain reaction has revolutionized genetic breeding in perennial horticultural crops including fruit trees. Our current research emphasis is in the construction of genetic map and the development of molecular markers which allow to increase an efficiency of identification of genetic markers linked to important traits and to analyze genotype of large progenies for several loci. Our research will provide powerful tools to detect genes for valuable agricultural traits and to select promising seedlings with these traits at a very early developmental stage during breeding program.
  3. 3) Physiological responses to environmental stresses
    Higher plants including fruit trees cannot walk away from their environment, so they evolved elaborate mechanisms to integrate their outside world into the program of their life cycle control. Plants perceive and respond by physiological and developmental changes when exposed to various environmental conditions, whose changes would help to adapt to the new environment. Our current research emphasis is in understanding how agriculturally important crops develop novel strategies to improve stress tolerance. According to the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “changing climate leads to changes in the frequency, intensity, spatial extent, duration, and timing of extreme weather and climate events, and can result in unprecedented extreme weather and climate events.” (IPCC 2012). The understanding of biochemical and physiological mechanisms helps plants to survive in these constantly changing environmental conditions. Our research will provide useful tools to detect several traits for stress-tolerance and to later produce these plants during breeding program.

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