SweetGAINS (Genetic Advances and Innovative Seed Systems)

Polyploid organisms carry more than two copies of each chromosome, a condition which occurs relatively frequently in the plant kingdom. Sweetpotato is a hexaploid and a clonally propagated crop. Polyploidy generates genetic, genomic, and phenotypic novelty, however, the higher complexity between genotype and phenotype in polyploids compared to diploids makes linking genotype to phenotype a challenging task. We are members of a consortium working on the hexaploid sweetpotato reference genome and its annotation. We will analyze transcriptome datasets of the cultivar Beauregard throughout development as well as following abiotic and biotic stress. This will facilitate understanding genes that are involved in growth and development and pathways in response to abiotic stress. The genome sequence and annotation data will enable sweetpotato researchers and breeders to assign marker dosage and generate haplotype-based associations that will facilitate accelerated sweetpotato improvement and increased genetic gains. This will contribute to advancing food and nutrition security and quality of life in Africa.