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Hybrid networks in tomato

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This talk will discuss a network approach to investigate hybrid vigour and transgressive phenotypes in the hybrids derived from two tomato species.

A hybrid displays vigour when its phenotype is different from the mid-parental value or even outside the range of the parents. In our studies and those of others, extreme transgressive phenotypes were recorded in the second generation hybrids and introgression lines originating from the two species. A better understanding and prediction of these phenomena could bring considerable improvements to crop production, increasing plant resistance and yield.

Next-generation sequencing of tomato hybrids allowed us to study the role of small (s)RNAs. After defining the genomic loci at which sRNA production differs between parents and hybrids, their overlap with annotated genomic features was analysed. Algorithms for the prediction of sRNA targets were used to connect genomic loci and tomato genes, highlighting that stress response, resistance and metabolism genes might be targeted preferentially. Finally, this network of sRNAs and genes was combined with a network of co-expressed genes in tomato, allowing us to further characterise sub-modules of the tomato interactome which are affected in the hybridization process.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Research Seminars series.

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