Meiosis is an essential stage in the life cycle of sexually-reproducing organisms. Indeed, meiosis is the specialized cell division that reduces the number of chromosomes from two sets in the parent to one set in gametes, while fertilization restores the original chromosome number. Meiosis is also the stage of development when genetic recombination occurs, thus being the heart of Mendelian heredity. Increasing our knowledge on meiotic mechanisms, in addition to its intrinsic interest, may have also important implications for agriculture and medicine.
In the last decade Arabidopsis emerged as one of the prominent models in the field of meiosis. Indeed, the meiotic field benefits greatly from a multi-model approach with several kingdoms represented, highlighting both conserved mechanisms and variation around the theme. Arabidopsis did not emerge only as a representative of its phylum, but is also a very good model to study meiosis in general, notably because of the possibility of large scale genetic studies and the availability of large mutant collections and wide range of molecular and cytological tools. In this project we aim to use original approaches to decipher much further meiotic mechanisms, by isolating a large number of novel genes and characterizing their functions in an integrated manner. To identify new meiotic functions, we will use innovative genetic approaches. The first work package is based on a new suppressor screen strategy, taking advantage of a unique and favourable situation in Arabidopsis. The second is an unprecedented screen that exploits the fact that we can now synthesize haploids in a higher eukaryote. The third work package aims to fully exploit the available transcriptome data. In the fourth work package we will use these new genes to deeply decipher the meiotic mechanisms in an integrated manner.
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