HCS PhD student, Katie D'Amico, received a 2018 USDA NIFE AFRI Predoctoral Fellowship. Katie's project proposal are below:
DNA methylomic profiling for the interrogation of aging and non-infectious bud failure in almond
The central focus of this project is perennial plant aging and the impact of the aging process on fruit and nut production. To address this, I am working with almond, an economically important nut crop that exhibits an age-related disorder known as non-infectious bud failure (BF). My research is focused on genetic changes, known as epigenetic alterations, associated with development of BF in almond, in this particular case DNA methylation. The goal of the projects funded by this award is to identify methylation signatures related to the onset of BF that will benefit almond breeders and growers in screening almond trees for BF potential. This information will be valuable to the almond industry and help to protect future almond production for this potentially devastating disorder. Results from this study will also help to further our general understanding of aging in perennial plants, a field that is currently neglected.