Research internship at the North Dakota State University

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Markus Ingold, a master student from the Biocomputing Lab, recently returned from a three-month research internship at the North Dakota State University (NDSU).

In the group of Dr. Brent Hulke (Sunflower Biology, US Department of Agriculture), he performed genome-wide association studies (GWAS) on sunflower (Helicanthus anuus) to detect regions of the genome correlating to fatty acid composition in seeds.

As oil composition fluctuates under heat and drought stress, the stability of these trait under different climates was investigated using GWAS. To identify candidate genes in said regions, gene function prediction and gene expression in seeds were considered, to gain a better understanding of the fatty acid metabolism and to accelerate breeding of varieties with more predictable traits under heat and drought stress.