To isolate and study key genes controlling flower development by establishing a range of molecular and genetic tools in the model species, Antirrhinum. The aims include: isolation of new transposons by trapping them in genes, construction of a combined restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and genetic map, genetic characterization of floral mutants and development of a transformation system. The possibility of using genes from Antirrhinum to study their counterparts in other species, such as pea, will also be investigated.
The form, physiology and function of the flower is of central interest to plant developmental and reproductive biologists. The flower is of major agronomic importance both for the efficient breeding of crops and because many plant products are derived from flower seeds and fruits. European scientists have made major advances in the molecular and genetic analysis of flower development through studies on Antirrhinum the garden snapdragon. By studying mutations that cause Antirrhinum flowers to develop abnormally, they have been able to start unravelling how genes control the development of normal flowers. The technology is also being extended to other species such as the pea so that processses general to all plant species are being uncovered.
Significant highlights of the study to date include;
Isolation and characterization of several new plant transposons;
Construction of a combined restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and genetic map for Antirrhinum;
Characterization of novel gene interactions controlling flower development;
Initiation of targetted tagging;
Characterization of monoclonal antibodies recognising floral organs;
Optimization of a regeneration system for Antirrhinum.
We aim to isolate and study key genes controlling floral morphogenesis in an experimentally suitable system and eventually to compare them with their counterparts in other Species. Antirrhinum provides an excellent model system since two key genes have already been isolated; it has well characterised transposons and an extensive range of mutations affecting floral development have been documented. A range of molecular and genetic tools will be established in Antirrhinum to facilitate gene cloning and analysis. These include:
isolation of a set of active transposons by trapping them in previously characterised genes; construction of a combined restriction fragment length polymorphism and genetic map;
genetic characterisation of floral mutants and construction of double mutants. These resources will then be exploited to
isolate genes by transposon-tagging or differential CDNA cloning. In addition, the possibility of using genes from Antirrhinum to study their counterparts in other species such as pisum sativum Will be investigated. The results of this research should make a major contribution to the isolation of key plant genes and to our understanding of flower development.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts