Stem cells are indispensable for development and growth in all multicellular organisms. In plants, stem cells formed embryonically generate new organs and tissues throughout their whole life, but besides plants specify new stem cells as part of their normal development to form lateral organs such as lateral roots. My previous research has identified a novel regulatory mechanism, the root clock (Moreno-Risueno et al. (2010) Science 329: 1306) that controls different developmental processes and by which root cells are selected to be specified as new stem cells in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. This research proposal focuses on understanding how new stem cell populations are selected and specified to become new stem cells by the root clock. In order to explore the transcriptional complexity and regulators that underlie this morphogenetic process I will use genomic, systems biology and genetic approaches. The results derived from this research will help to further understand the complex regulation that determines plant architecture and to establish paradigms of how stem cell specification and activity is controlled. Applications important for plant growth and nutrition, such as manipulation of anchorage, water and nutrient uptake, etc. may be derived from this basic research.
The Curie Reintegration Grant would allow me to substantially improve the quality of the results, and subsequently the scientific quality and relevance of the research project. This would benefit my scientific career facilitating my lasting professional integration in the European Research Area, after my arrival from Duke University in USA. The activities derived from my research and integration, such as establishment of collaborations, transference of knowledge, and spread of my research results in scientific and public spheres, would contribute, in turn, to enhance the European scientific excellence.
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