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Abstract Detail

Comparative Genomics/Transcriptomics

Vuruputoor, Vidya [1], Wegrzyn, Jill [2].

Assessing genetic differences related to differential resistance in hemlocks (Tsuga sp.) through comparative transcriptomics.

Covering over 1.3 million hectares, hemlocks are an integral part of the forests of Eastern North America. These forests support unique flora and fauna, like salamanders, and other insects and birds. However, over 25% of this forest cover is infested with small, sap-sucking adelgids, killing these trees in less than 5 years. The implication of this is large. The hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) was accidentally introduced to the North American continent through an infested Japanese ornamental in the 1980s and is rapidly destroying hemlock forests. Given the current rate of destruction, most of the hemlock forest cover may be lost in the next 20 years. Current measures involve using chemical and biological controls, which come with their own disadvantages. Apart from these approaches, understanding the genetic variance within and among Tsuga species can help in leveraging innate host resistance against the HWA. Among the hemlock species, Chinese hemlock, T. chinensis, is the most resistant to HWA. This is attributed to the morphology, with Chinese hemlocks having the thickest cuticles, preventing the adelgid from successfully infecting the tree. Chinese hemlocks also express higher amounts of certain terpenoids that can deter the adelgid. On the contrary, the more susceptible trees, eastern and Carolina hemlocks express terpenoids that can attract terpenoids, and have thinner cuticles. There are also environmental factors that impact HWA success on hemlocks, such as light and temperature. Here, we will describe the transcriptomic differences seen across nine species (RNA-Seq (150bp PE) conducted on three biological replicates per species), of which the Chinese hemlock is the most resistant and the western North American hemlocks are tolerant. We will describe the gene family dynamics identified in the de novo assembled transcriptomes that may contribute to their variable resistance/tolerance.

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1 - University of Connecticut, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 75 N. Eagleville Road, Unit 3043, Storrs, CT, 06269-3043, United States
2 - University of Connecticut, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, 75 N. Eagleville Road, Unit 3043, Storrs, CT, 06269-3043, United States

Tsuga sp.  

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P1, Comparative Genomics/Transcriptomics Posters
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Monday, July 19th, 2021
Time: 5:00 PM(EDT)
Number: P1GT010
Abstract ID:925
Candidate for Awards:Phytochemical Best Poster Award

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