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Whitney Harchenko Completes M.S. in Plant Sciences

Whitney Harchenko, M.S. graduate in Plant Sciences at North Dakota State University, presented "Marker Assisted Selection Increases the Efficiency of Breeding for Potato Virus Y" on Friday, April 25, 2014.
Whitney Harchenko Completes M.S. in Plant Sciences

Whitney Harchenko (left) with adviser Dr. Asunta Thompson

Whitney Harchenko, M.S. graduate in Plant Sciences at North Dakota State University, presented Marker Assisted Selection Increases the Efficiency of Breeding for Potato Virus Y Resistance in Potato on Friday, April 25, 2014.

Harchenko’s research focused on Potato Virus Y (PVY), an insecticide-resistant virus spread by aphids which can cause yield losses. Genetic resistance in potato is the recommended control, since insecticides cannot adequately control the spread of PVY. Artificial inoculation, followed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) testing, is the traditional method used to screen for PVY resistance. This method is time consuming, tedious, and prohibits screening of large populations. Her study identified PVY resistant progeny by use of molecular sequence-characterized amplified region (SCAR) marker RYSC3. The RYSC3 marker allowed a simple and fast approach to determine if the gene which provides virus resistance (Ryadg) was present in the seedling family populations evaluated. The RYSC3 marker identified 16 families developed by the NDSU potato breeding team, with progeny segregating for the Ryadg gene.

Harchenko received her B.S. in Horticulture and Psychology at NDSU before applying to work on her Master’s degree with Dr. Asunta Thompson. Her advice to prospective students is to seek out one of the many opportunities in the Department of Plant Sciences, overcome your fears of talking with the highly qualified faculty, be energetic, and expect to work hard.

Harchenko began working as Assistant Wheat Breeder with Bayer Crop Science in Fargo following internships at Monsanto and NDSU.

Whitney Harchenko’s graduate committee included Dr. Gary Secor, Dr. Ian MacRea, Dr. Andrew Robinson and adviser Dr. Asunta Thompson.

Source: Whitney Harchenko (contact Dr. Asunta Thompson, 701-231-8160, Asunta.Thompson@ndsu.edu)
Author: Shannon Ueker, 701-231-7971, shannon.ueker@ndsu.edu
Editor: Karen Hertsgaard, 701-231-5384, karen.hertsgaard@ndsu.edu

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