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Exploiting natural variation in plant shoot morphology

Objective

One of the aims of developmental biology is to understand the mechanisms underlying the diversification of plant forms. We are using a set of five late-flowering Arabidopsis accessions (ecotypes) that form naturally selected variant morphology that differs significantly from the morphology of most early- or late-flowering Arabidopsis ecotypes. The previous genetic analysis established that interactions among multiple genes specify this morphology.

Our aim is to identify genes involved in specification of such morphology by taking advantage of a newly developed mapping protocol for detecting allelic variation in Arabidopsis using an RNA expression GeneChip pioneered by Dr. Weigel. Identification and characterization of specific alleles that have been favoured by natural selection would allow us to gain an insight into mechanisms of evolution of new plant architectures. Our previous work already identified novel floral repressor that acts to delay the onset of reproductive development in plants. Preliminary data suggest that the analysis of remainder of the accessions may identify additional repressors.

Floral repression is the process that is least understood in the regulation of flowering, thus, this study provides an opportunity for significant contribution t o our understanding of regulation of plant reproductive development. Besides contribution to the fundamental understanding of an important biological process in plants, this study will provide us with tools required for the crop improvement as well as for development of plants as bioreactors.

Call for proposal

FP6-2004-MOBILITY-7
See other projects for this call

Coordinator

MAX PLANCK INSTITUTE FOR DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY DEPARTMENT OF MOLECULAR BIOLOGY