The vascular tissues provide the main transport system for water and sugars in all higher plants and therefore may represent an important trait that can be manipulated in crop plants. I have already made significant contributions towards understanding how vascular pattern is set in the model plant Arabidopsis through identifying new genetic components and developing a multiscale computational model to simulate vascular patterning in silico.
Arabidopsis has a simple vascular pattern with just two xylem poles. In comparison rice has between 5-8 xylem poles. In this proposal I will refine our existing Arabidopsis model and use it as a platform to translate our knowledge of vascular patterning in Arabidopsis to different species. This will provide an understanding of how similar molecular circuits can be adapted to provide alternative patterns in other species. It will also allow me to “design” changes in the vascular pattern of crop plants and investigate whether these have the potential to introduce changes in the way plants use water.
Call for proposal
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