Genetics, Development and Cell Biology Department
Developmental genetics of maize shoots
Much of our research focuses on floral shoot branching using maize as an experimental system. The tassel and ear of maize comprise an attractive system because a series of shoot apical meristem fate decisions underlies normal development, and their accessibility and large size facilitates their use in developmental and molecular experiments that exploit a plethora of research tools available in maize. In addition, the tassel and ear produce grain that is an important food and industrial commodity, and they are excellent models for other cereals. The genetic pathway regulating floral shoot branching that we identified is unique to and conserved among the cereal crops. Our work relies on the analysis of mutants to determine gene function, and QTL, transcript profiling and other genomics approaches to identify additional genes that function in genetic pathways we identify. In a separate project, we are generating a large collection of transposon-induced, sequence-indexed, single gene knockout lines in maize using the endogenous Ac/Ds transposable element system. These gene knockouts are publicly available to all researchers. Finally, we are also working to elucidate developmental and genetic mechanisms that operate during the gametophyte generations of maize. Current approaches to these questions include mutagenesis and transcriptome profiling of the gametophytes, and reporter genes to relay information about tissue-specific transposon silencing.
Refreshments in the MBB atrium at 3:45 PM before the seminar.
Host: Jo Anne Powell-Coffman (email@example.com)