UGA Horticulture Department

Marc van Iersel named Dooley Professor

Dr. Marc van Iersel, the new Dooley professor

Marc van Iersel has been named the ‘Dooley Professor’ in the Department of Horticulture. The Vincent J. Dooley professorship was established by the UGA athletic foundation in honor of former UGA football coach and athletic director Vince ‘Coach’ Dooley. Coach Dooley is an avid gardener and supporter of the horticulture department. This endowed chair is awarded to a faculty member with ‘an outstanding national reputation in the area of Ornamental Horticulture’. Dr. Marc van Iersel is excited to receive this honor. The funds associated with this endowed position will be used to strengthen his research into optimal lighting strategies in greenhouses and vertical farms and to enrich the experience of the graduate students who work in his research group.

UGA Research Leader’s Work on Tomato Genome Featured in PLOSbgenetics!

Dr. Esther van der Knapp, Professor in the Department of Horticulture and the Center for Applied Genetic Technologies, Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics & Genomics and her team of scientists from UGA and The Ohio State University have recent had their work on Cell size regulation published in PLOS genetics, a very prestigious genomic science journal.  According to the research summary:  “Starting about 10,000 years ago, during the Neolithic period, human societies began the transformation from a hunting and gathering-dependent lifestyle to an agrarian lifestyle. This transformation was accompanied by plant and animal domestication. Tomato shows a huge increase in fruit weight that has arisen as a consequence of its domestication. We identified a gene that encodes a poorly characterized protein that controls fruit weight in tomato. The mutation that led to the increase in fruit weight arose early during the cultivation of tomato and is now incorporated in all large tomato varieties. The gene regulates cell size in the fruit and is called Cell Size Regulator. The increases in cell size are proposed to relate to cellular maturation that accompanies fruit growth.”

To see the actual publication, follow the link provided below:

Fruit weight is controlled by Cell Size Regulator encoding a novel protein that is expressed in maturing tomato fruits.  Qi Mu , Zejun Huang, Manohar Chakrabarti, Eudald Illa-Berenguer, Xiaoxi Liu, Yanping Wang, Alexis Ramos, and  Esther van der Knaap. 2017  PLOS Gen 13(8) e1006930.

http://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.1006930