Quantitative genetics to identify the basis of beneficial traits in K. marxianus

Academic partners: UCC, Cork, Ireland; University of Leicester, UK
Industry Partner: Lallemand, France

Kluyveromyces marxianus has a number of very interesting characteristics that are relevant for beverage and cell factory applications. In most cases, these are likely to be controlled by multiple genes. Genetic mapping techniques offer a route to determine the genes or alleles that control traits of interest such as thermotolerance, robustness and flavour production. Classical genetics and quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping are widely used in S. cerevisiae but have yet not been applied in K. marxianus. The first aim of this project will be to establish classical genetics as a way to breed K. marxianus strains. We will then develop a QTL approach to determine the genetic basis of traits such as thermotolerance and multi-stress tolerance. Novel strains derived from crosses will be selected on the basis of multi-stress tolerance and will be evaluated at the industry partner to establish whether these variants have enhanced survival following-scale propagation and drying.