Discipline: Biological Sciences
Subcategory: Biochemistry (not Cell and Molecular Biology and Genetics)
Room: Exhibit Hall A
Kevanice Traylor - Fort Valley State University
Co-Author(s): Jiaqi Zhou, University of California-Davis, Davis; Bixuan Chen, University of California-Davis, Davis; Diane M. Beckles, University of California-Davis, Davis
This research focused on improving tomato fruit quality because consumers have been dissatisfied with the taste and flavor of tomatoes for a long time. If tomato fruit quality could be improved, consumption would increase. This could have a positive influence on public health outcomes because tomatoes are high in antioxidants and protect against cancer and several diseases. The problem is that tomatoes are highly perishable, and therefore require proper handling to extend their shelf-life. However, strategies that enhance shelf-life often worsen fruit quality. Our aim in this work was to investigate if different postharvest handling practices designed to prolong storage-life also change tomato fruit quality and if this happens via methylation of the fruit DNA. DNA methylation is an epigenetic mechanism that regulates gene expression. As the fruit ripens, several ?quality genes? become demethylated. We hypothesized that many postharvest treatments interfere with ripening by turning off ?quality genes? via DNA methylation. We, therefore, studied fruit harvested at different developmental stages and stored at different temperatures. We determined their quality using objective parameters such as fruit color, firmness, and sugars. The DNA methylation state of these fruits was then compared using Methyl-Sensitive Amplification Polymorphism (MSAP). Overall, the data supported our hypothesis: in all samples examined, early-harvest and low-temperature storage reduced the quality of the fruit, and poor fruit quality correlated with higher levels of fruit DNA methylation. Knowledge from this research may be used to develop better cultivars or treatments.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): I would like to thank NSF TIP award #18181695, PI professor Seema Dhir and Carol Homs, for helping expand my career opportunities with the Plant Agricultural Biology Graduate Admission Program at UC-Davis this summer.
Faculty Advisor: seema dhir, email@example.com
Role: During the research, I helped with DNA extraction, PCR, measuring firmness, color, total soluble solids, and methylation.