Developing a molecular pipeline to identify Chenopodium species in New England

Date of Award

Winter 2017

Project Type


Program or Major

Biological Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Thomas M Davis

Second Advisor

Janet R Sullivan

Third Advisor

Cheryl A Smith


Weedy species from the genus Chenopodium may provide useful genetic resources for improving quinoa (C. quinoa), a highly nutritious and economically-important crop. Before this can be accomplished, the weedy species in the Northern New England (NNE) region must be enumerated, characterized, and represented in germplasm collections and herbaria. In this study, Chenopodium germplasm was collected from the NNE region and identified via a pipeline consisting of morphological identification, flow cytometric C-value determination, gel-visualization of RAPD and gene-specific PCR products, and comparative DNA sequencing. The collected specimens were compared to plants obtained from the USDA National Plant Germplasm System. In total, five different species, including the rare C. foggii, were collected and examined, and three of the nine studied USDA comparator accessions were found to be incorrectly identified. Representative specimens were submitted to the Hodgdon Herbarium at the University of New Hampshire and the USDA National Plant Germplasm System. As a step toward developing germplasm needed for constructing a linkage map as a genomic resource for Chenopodium, crosses were performed between genetically distinct representatives of a wild diploid species, C. ficifolium, and four confirmed F1 hybrids were obtained.

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