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Our genomics research involves identifying genes and linked DNA markers for use in crop genetics and breeding, with special reference to vegetable crops. We use a methodology known as “genome wide association mapping,” which uses a conventional field plot technique that dissects variation of quantitative traits, such as yield and fruit quality in association with genome wide DNA polymorphisms to characterize crop biodiversity for improvement in cucurbit crops and peppers.
We explore cutting-edge sequencing tools to identify genes and DNA polymorphisms for use in plant breeding. We also identify crop varieties that have pharmaceutical and nutraceutical values that can be used as functional foods. We are identifying DNA markers linked to various economically important traits like fruit quality and nutraceutical features in crops such as melon, watermelon, pumpkin, squash, sweet potato and pepper.

We seek to understand variation in plant traits, with special reference to evolution and phylogenetic perspective, and to understand domestication and adaptation of various plant genes that have economic potential. For example, one project deals with how grafting alters genomes in cucurbit crops and how the altered genomes, through grafting, affect characteristics such as resistance to pathogens or drought.

Also, we seek to understand adaptation mechanisms of native plants and invasive plants at Appalachian coal mine sites, where the mine-fills are characteristic of low pH and toxic soils. We use various population genetic tools to understand genetic mechanisms and explore how to combine genetic diversities at all levels for land reclamation. 
Dr. Umesh K. Reddy
103 Hamblin Hall
(304) 766-3066
Dr. Padma Nimmakayala
221 Hamblin Hall
(304) 766-4135
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