The DNA Sequence of the Burley Tobacco Genome

Grants and Contracts Details


We are proposing that KTRDC undertake a project to sequence the genome of an elite burley tobacco cultivar. Scientists at KTRDC are developing molecular markers that are linked to important disease resistance genes in tobacco. This is being done so that these genes can be rapidly moved into other burley cultivars by backcrossing, which will directly benefit Kentucky tobacco producers. Combining the use of molecular markers with tobacco lines engineered for early flowering (funded by the CBT in 2013) can reduce the time required to produce a finished line from 4-­?5 years to ~2 years. There are some problems in developing markers for genes that originated in other species of Nicotiana; the chromosomal regions transferred into the tobacco genome are of unknown size, and marker loci within these regions tend to segregate together, so there is no way to know how close they actually are to the disease resistance genes of interest. Having the genome sequence of a burley tobacco line that carries many of these "alien" disease resistance genes will allow KTRDC researchers to identify the exotic chromosomal segments and to rapidly develop markers that are closely linked to the specific genes of interest. Because it is possible to accurately predict gene sequences using computational methods, in some cases we may be able to identify the actual genes; these can then be used in molecular marker development. In addition, sequencing the burley tobacco genome will vastly increase the genomic resources for this crop, and will be unique to the University of Kentucky. Also, because there are chemical constituent issues specific to burley tobacco, being able to identify some of the genes could prove to be beneficial in the current regulatory climate.
Effective start/end date4/1/143/31/16


  • Council for Burley Tobacco: $15,000.00


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