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Leah McHale

Former member


Leah McHale

 Lab member: 2002-2009.
Position Graduate Student
Education B.S in Horticulture, Pennsylvania State University 2001
Research Topic Candidate Gene Approach for Disease Resistance to Lettuce Downy Mildew
Research Summary In collaboration with Celera, a lettuce EST database of over 66,000 sequences has been established.Two genotypes of lettuce were used to generate the ESTs, a cultivar and the wild progenitor ofcultivated lettuce. To identify more resistance gene candidates (RGCs), I searched the database forsequences with the NBS-LRR motifs as well as other possible resistance genes. I also mined the ESTdatabase for candidate genes functioning downstream of the resistance genes. These genes includesignal transduction genes, such as EDS1 and NPR1, as well as disease response genes,such as the PR genes. Markers have been designed based on the EST sequences, and we are generatingmapping data. To determine the potential function of these genes, I will look for geneticcosegregation of the genes that I have identified with phenotypic data generated by others in thelab who are mapping resistance to a variety of pathogens.

In addition, I am conducting a loss-of-resistance mutant screen on the M2 generation of fast neutronand gamma irradiated lettuce. Several different genotypes were irradiated. Each genotype containsdifferent resistance genes. By screening seedlings for a loss of resistance, I have identified plantswith mutations in one to several resistance genes or downstream signal transduction genes. Eachloss-of-resistance mutant will be analyzed genetically to place them in complementation groups.Panels of these potential deletion mutants will be screened for the candidate RGC sequences and othergenes involved in resistance to determine whether any of these candidate genes function in theresistance specificity that has been lost.
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