Flower development in barley
Scientists are seeking a student with an interest in plant breeding for a project on controlling organ development in barley by MADS-box transcription factors.
Flowers are comprised of many different organs, the number and position of which varies between species. Pioneering studies in model species such as Arabidopsis and snapdragon identified the MADS-box genes as key regulators of floral organ development.
More recent studies indicate that the MADS-box genes may have additional roles during tissue development, and this is particularly so in developing ovules, which are progenitors of plant seed. Results from our laboratory and collaborators indicate that different ovule tissues may contribute to grain size, shape and weight.
Understanding how this is achieved will provide fundamental knowledge of seed development and potentially contribute pre-breeding knowledge for the $10B Australian seed industry.
In preliminary work relevant to this proposal, we have generated a series of mutants in specific MADS-box genes in barley. These mutants show differences in seed size, number and weight.
In this project, you will investigate whether the proteins encoded by these genes interact, how they control gene expression and where they are expressed in developing ovules. The aim is to build a network of interactions that can be modified to control seed traits.
This project builds on unique knowledge of ovule and seed development in barley, in addition to innovative technologies and genomic resources. The diverse methods will provide an excellent opportunity for you to learn critical laboratory skills for a career in research or the plant breeding and seed industry.
Study plant biology
Associate Professor Matthew Tucker is a plant biologist with research expertise in plant reproduction, shoot growth and seed development.
Research in his laboratory investigates how plant cells communicate, with the aim of understanding how these signals can be engineered for superior plant products and reproductive strategies.