Danelle Seymour is an Assistant Professor of Genetics at UC Riverside. She conducts research at Lindcove REC.
What led you to become a geneticist?
It must have been the first course in genetics at UC Davis. After that class, I quickly realized that UC Davis offered a degree in genetics and I changed majors to begin the many genetics-focused courses. This is one of those “small” decisions that, looking back, shaped my career path and continues to impact the research in my lab today.
What brought your work to Lindcove REC?
In 2019 I began my current position at UC Riverside focused on citrus genetics, genomics, and breeding. Right away I began searching for ways to quickly and reliably measure characteristics from a large number of individual trees. The Compac Packline housed at Lindcove Research and Extension Center allows us to measure more than 20 traits related to fruit size, shape, and quality in a high-throughput manner. To date, we have collected measurements from over 100,000 fruits. This has allowed us to begin to understand the genetic basis of fruit traits, including fruit quality, for more than 600 varieties.
What do you hope to learn from your research at Lindcove REC?
Traditional breeding is most effective when we can link trait variation with genetic information. The packline is one of the many resources we leverage to begin to identify the genes that underlie important agronomic and consumer fruit quality traits in citrus. With data collected from the packline we have already begun to pinpoint regions of the citrus genome associated with traits like fruit size, texture, and color, among others. Eventually, we will develop molecular markers for each associated region to facilitate future breeding cycles in citrus.
What is your favorite part about conducting your research at Lindcove REC?
The research staff are truly exceptional and have made it possible for us to successfully execute these large-scale projects. Also, there is something very special about the site. Coming from the crowded inland empire, it is refreshing to spend a week surrounded by swaths of commercial citrus groves with the Sierra Nevadas in the background. I continue to look forward to each visit.