Plant Biology


Arabidopsis thaliana is readily transformable for high throughput functional genomics research, for example to test gene function, or to generate thousands of plants carrying randomly inserted transcription-activating gene tags.  When plants are transformed by the Agrobacterium-mediated "floraldip" method, b-glucuronidase gene delivery experiments (middle and right panels, note blue staining) reveal that ovules and other female reproductive tissues are the primary target of transformation.
(Photos: Christine Desfeux and Andrew Bent)
The area of plant molecular biology covers a wide range of topics from basic to applied. Much of the basic work focuses on the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, a weed that offers many advantages for genetic, molecular, and biochemical investigations. Researchers use Arabidopsis study all aspects of the plant life cycle from embryo to seed development to flowering and senescence. We are also carrying out studies of important metabolic processes such as photosynthesis, carbon assimilation, protein turnover, protein trafficking, ion uptake, and perception of light and gravity. We use a wide variety of techniques and approaches in our studies, ranging from forward and reverse genetics to state-of-the-art proteomic and bioinformatic methods. Applied scientists use both FISH and DNA polymorphisms to map genes that confer important agronomic traits, while our pathologists are investigating plant viruses and microorganisms that interact with plants. The plant science community offers a wealth of productive collaborations that keeps Wisconsin at the forefront of plant science research.

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