Analyses of cDNA Microarray Correlated with Overcompensation in Arabidopsis thaliana
Overcompensation is a mechanism many plant species use to maximize reproductive success in the face of herbivore damage. It is a pattern of re-growth and an increase in reproductive success usually triggered by herbivore browsing of the primary inflorescence. Compensation can be seen as a continuum, ranging from species that under-compensate (decreased reproductive success after browsing) to those that overcompensate (increased reproductive success after browsing) (Paige and Whitham, 1987). Physiological components, modeled as key factors facilitating overcompensation includes a delay in senescence, increased photosynthetic rate, and sustained multiple axillary bud outgrowth. The genetic mechanisms of these components, however, are largely unknown. The purpose of this research then is to use global genomic microarray analyses to uncover the genes responsible for these components. cDNA microarrays will be used to assess the molecular basis driving the physiological components of overcompensation (increased flower, fruit, and seed production) in Arabidopsis thaliana when the primary inflorescence is removed. Many different ecotypes of Arabidopsis -from those that undercompensate to those that overcompensate (following removal of the primary inflorescence) - have been screened. RNA extracted from specific organs of ecotype 907 will be reverse transcribed into cDNA for the final microarray. Differential gene expression found in this ecotype will be examined and used to describe the genes controlling the components of overcompensation. Follow-up experiments can then be designed as part of later studies to test the expression of these genes in specific tissues and developmental stages.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Prof Ken Paige
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