Ms Megan Smit

MSc student


Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology
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Primary Supervisor
David Read

Co Supervisor
Irene Barnes

I received my Bachelor of Science in Genetics and Honours in Bioinformatics from the University of Pretoria. Currently, I am pursuing my Master of Science degree in Genetics, with a research focus on identifying disease resistance in butternut (Cucurbita moschata) against Phytophthora capsici.

I am using Bulk Segregant Analysis combined with sequencing (BSA-Seq) as an approach to identify Quantitative Trait Loci (QTLs) in butternut contributing to resistance against P. capsici. This technique allows me to compare the genetic content of two bulked populations, typically one susceptible and one resistant to Phytophthora capsici, to identify regions (and genes) of the genome associated with disease resistance.

Through my research, I aim to contribute to the development of disease-resistant butternut varieties, thereby helping farmers mitigate crop losses and ensure a stable food supply. My ultimate goal is to apply the knowledge and skills I acquire during my Master's program to make a lasting impact in the field of plant pathology.