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LettuceKnow

Research

Summary

Lettuce is the quintessential leafy salad green and important component of a healthy diet, with a ~$11 billion global production value. A major challenge for breeders is to develop resilient and sustainable varieties that are adapted to changing climate conditions, emerging disease threats and technological growth innovations such as vertical farming and LED illumination. LettuceKnow will investigate key resilience and architecture traits and identify underlying molecular mechanisms and genes by combining:large-scale transcriptomics of 500 diverse wild and cultivated lettuce accessions, cutting-edge phenotyping, powerful integrative bioinformatics & machine learning, and state-of-the-art biological approaches. Analysis of transcript variants and levels will identify key traits, mechanisms and genes for crop resilience and architecture, and provide prime leads for knowledge-based breeding of future lettuce varieties.
LettuceKnow will establish lettuce as a model crop for scientific research to enable the knowledge-driven transformation of breeding lettuce, but also of other leafy vegetables and Asteraceae, e.g. sunflower, chrysanthemum, and chicory. The interdisciplinary LettuceKnow team combines plant biology, bioinformatics and machine learning to enable the optimal use of big data and discover the genes/alleles underlying important traits. Combined with input of the highly innovative vegetable breeding industry, LettuceKnow will strongly contribute to science-driven improvement of healthy food.

Unique selling point(s)
• Innovative research combining strength of different Lactuca species by studying transcript/phenotype variation in 500 accessions;
• Holistic approach providing detailed knowledge on genes/mechanisms for resilience and architecture in leafy greens;
• Timely interdisciplinary experimental approach bridging advanced phenotyping/genomics/bioinformatics/computation to breeding;
• Improvement of lettuce for sustainable production, adapted to changing climate and farminginnovations

LettuceKnow consists of three research lines supported by a technology platform:
1. Big Data
2. Resilience
3. Architecture
4. Technology