Funded by: PCAARRD
Implementation Period: Jan 2014-Jan 2019  |  Program Leader: Hayde F. Galvez, PHD

Through genomics-assisted generation of molecular markers and its application in molecular breeding, it is hoped that coconut productivity could be increased from 46 to 150 nuts/tree/year which shall exceed India’s average yield of 77 nuts/tree/year (APCC, 2011).

Of the 8 projects in the program, six (6) of the projects (Projects 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, and 8) are involved in the generation of molecular markers associated with very important traits such as copra yield, early flowering time, oil biosynthesis, mutations in the endosperm and for insect resistance. One of the projects (Project 5) involves the expression of coconut genes related to oil biosynthesis in a model experimental monocot plant, Zea mays L. through genetic engineering. Four projects (Projects 2, 6, 7, and 8) have duration of 5 years and will focus on the use of the molecular markers (generated from the six projects mentioned above) towards marker-assisted selection and molecular breeding of selected coconut varieties, single-cross hybrids and advanced mapping populations from PCA.

Conceptual Framework of the Coconut Genomics Program



Coconut Genomics Project 1: Coconut Genome Sequencing: A Resource for Coconut Genetic and Varietal Improvement
Project Leader: Dr. Cynthia P. Saloma
Generates the draft genome sequence assembly of representative Tall and Dwarf coconut varieties

Synteny mapping of LAGT vs. African Oil Palm

Coconut Genomics Project 2: Biomarker Development and Molecular Mapping for Coconut Genetic and Varietal Improvement
Project Leader: Dr. Ian Kendrich C. Fontanilla
Generates ang maps molecular markers based on assembled coconut genomes

The Laguna Tall Variety, one of the target cultivars for molecular marker development

Coconut Genomics Project 3: Gene Expression Analysis Towards Coconut Genotyping and Varietal Improvement
Project Leader: Dr. Cynthia P. Saloma
Assigns biological function of the assembled coconut genome through transcriptome/gene expression analysis

Coconut Genomics Project 4: Gene Expression Analyses for Oil Biosynthesis, Makapuno and Lono Traits
Project Leader: Dr. Ma. Genaleen Q. Diaz
 Applies gene expression analyses for improved oil biosynthesis and understanding of the economically beneficial Makapuno and Lono phenotypes of coconut
 Characterizes coconut genes that govern endosperm mutation through transcriptome/gene expression analysis

Genes responsible for coconut meat mutations are being characterized in Makapuno and Lono cultivars

Coconut Genomics Project 5: Coconut Gene Expression in a Model Monocot Zea mays L.: Proof of Concept of Oil Biosynthesis
Project Leader: Dr. Antonio C. Laurena
Provides proof of concept of the expression and control of genes in oil biosynthesis through genetic transformation in a model corn system
Caption: Corn embryogenic calli ready for proof-of-concept transformation with coconut oil genes

Coconut Genomics Project 6: Marker Assisted Breeding of Coconut Targeting Productivity and Major Industrial Traits
Project Leader: Dr. Antonio G. Lalusin
Employs genetic markers to select outstanding populations of coconut and initiate breeding for improved yield and other important economic traits addressing various industrial needs
Caption: Seed nursery of outstanding palm selections at the Institute of Plant Breeding< UPLB

Coconut Genomics Project 7: QTL Mapping in Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) for High Yield and Outstanding Quality of Copra Oil and other Coconut Major By-products
Project Leader: Dr. Consorcia E. Reaño
Characterizes genes that regulate expression of coconut yield and copra yield/quality traits through statistical association of DNA markers and these quantitative traits using an advanced mapping population of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA)

Coconut Genomics Project 8: Development of Web-based Breeding Resource and ECO-TILLING Towards Insect Resistance Breeding
Project Leader: Dr. Hayde F. Galvez
()Constructs the draft genome database of coconut installed with web-based bioinformatics tools for molecular breeding
()Characterizes candidate genes for coconut insect resistance and develops DNA markers for use in marker-assisted breeding
Caption: Coconut type VI trichomes found at the lamina of Laguna Tall leaflets using Carl Zeiss Axioplan Microscope (200x) captured at IRRI

Program Management and Coordination
Project Leader: Dr. Hayde F. Galvez
Coordinates all component projects for efficient and effective research implementation and delivery of expected outputs as a whole and integrated R&D genomics program
Caption: A Seminar on Precision Genome Modification co-organized by PGC-Agriculture