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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.

Grains image

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.

Barley flower slide - Matthew Tucker

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.

Tagged in Honours projects - Agricultural science, Honours projects - Horticulture, Honours projects - Plant science, Honours projects - Molecular and biomedical science: Other, Honours projects - Matthew Tucker, Honours projects - Philip Brewer

Competition: Young Scientist of the Year

How do we feed the world’s growing population? How do we save our wildlife from extinction? Got an idea that will build a brighter, greener world?

Australian high school students are invited to submit a short video about one of Australia’s big science challenges.

Video competition