Project properties

Title Ecotypic variability in wild Lambs lettuce populations (Valerianella spp. L - Veldsla)
Group Biosystematics Group
Project type thesis
Credits 24-36
Supervisor(s) Dr. Klaas Bouwmeester (Biosystematics); Dr. Rob van Treuren (Centre for Genetic Resources; CGN)
Examiner(s) Prof. dr. Eric Schranz
Contact info
Begin date 2020/12/01
End date 2024/07/31
Description Lambs lettuce (Valerianella locusta; veldsla in Dutch) is a leafy vegetable that is often used in mixed salads.
It belongs to the family Caprifoliaceae and is thus not, as suggested by its name, related to lettuce (Lactuca sativa, Asteraceae). Cultivars of Lambs lettuce are supposed to have narrow genetic diversity, largely because breeding programs have much relied on identical germplasm collections.
This narrow genetic diversity limits the potential to cope with environmental changes, including bacterial blight - an emerging disease caused by the bacterium Acidovorax valerianellae. Safeguarding germplasm of natural populations of Lambs lettuce and closely related wild relatives will benefit breeding of more future-proof cultivars.

Here, we aim to explore genetic and ecotypic variability in Valerianella, both in cultivars and wild relatives.

In this project you can :
- collect seeds of wild Valerianella species in The Netherlands
- characterize morphologic differences across cultivars and wild ecotypes
- assess genetic variation by SCoT marker genotyping in Valerianella, incl. cultivars and ecotypes
- develop pathogen assays to characterize natural variation in blight resistance
- analyse phenotypic and population genetic data
Used skills Molecular techniques (DNA barcoding, gene variant analysis), Population genetics, Plant phenotyping, Pathogens assays
Requirements Basic knowledge of plant-microbe interactions and molecular biology