Victor A. Albert, PhD, Empire Innovation Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, along with a large international team from China, the U.S., Singapore, France and Canada, are co-authors of a study recently published in Nature Genetics.
Their research not only adds new chapters to the history of the lychee, it also provides an in-depth look at flowering time, a hugely important trait in agriculture. “Early-maturing lychees versus late-maturing lychees came from different places and were domesticated independently,” says Dr. Albert, “This, by itself, is an interesting story, but we also wanted to know what causes these differences. Why do these varieties fruit and flower at different times?” By comparing the DNA of many lychee varieties, the team identified a genetic variant that could be used to create a simple test for identifying early- and late-blooming lychee plants. Read the news story by Charlotte Hsu.