The general strategy of the research group is to identify and characterize useful genetic variability within the Lycopersicon spp., Cucumis melo and Cucurbita spp. for its use in breeding for tomatoes, melons and pumpkins with improved fruit quality. The group has a special interest in understanding the molecular control of the evolution of quality traits under domestication.
We carry out research projects on sugar, starch and organic acid metabolism in order to determine rate limiting steps in accumulation of quality components. We have recently concluded the cloning of the genes encoding for the complete metabolic pathways of sugar and acid metabolism in melon fruit.
We've also developed, in a joint research and development program with the Gedera Seed Co., tomato hybrids with modified sugar content based on introgressions from the wild species L. hirsutum and we are studying the genetic-molecular control of these variations. Cultivars of tomatoes with a unique trait of fruit dehydration while still attached to the vine have been developed in conjunction with the Tomaisin Corp. The gene controlling the trait has been cloned using a map-based cloning strategy.
The research group is also part of the Center for the Genetic Improvement of Cucurbit Fruit Quality, an ad hoc organization of research groups with multidisciplinary expertise in germplasm, genetics, genomics and biochemistry of the major fruit quality components of the cucurbits. The Center's activities are being carried out with support from The Ministry of Industry and Commerce Bio-Tov project, The Ministry of Science, The Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Agriculture, EU Meta-Phor project, BARD and industry grants.
- Biochemistry and genetic control of sugar accumulation in tomato fruit
- Molecular biology of carbohydrate metabolism in melon fruit
- Development of Raisin tomatoes (Tomaisins)
- Genetic control of starch metabolism and accumulation in tomatoes and squash
- Development of melons with increased acid levels
Marina Petreikov, Ph.D.
Yelena Yeselson, Ph.D.
Past Doctoral Students:
Dr. Dafna Miron
Dr. Yosi Burger
Dr. Ran Hovav
Dr. Marina Petreikov
Dr. Rivka Hadas
Dr. Gao Zhifang
Dr. Genfa Zhang
Dr. Nir Carmi
Dr. Nir Dai
Schaffer, A.A.. 1981. The History of Horseradish as the Bitter Herb of Passover. Gesher 8: 217-237. (pdf)
Schaffer, A.A. 1982. The Agricultural and Ecological Symbolism of the Four Species of Sukkot. Tradition 20(2): 128-140. (pdf)
Maror- its history and taste physiology. Powerpoint presentation, yeshivat Har Etzion, April 7, 2011 (link)