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Research Abstracts Online
January 2008 - March 2009

University of Minnesota Duluth
Swenson College of Science and Engineering
Department of Biology

PI: Clay J. Carter

Functional Genomics of Nectar Production in the Brassicaceae

Flowering plants often attract potential pollinators by offering a reward of floral nectar, a sugary solution that lies at the core of many plant-pollinator interactions. Remarkably, the molecular events involved in the synthesis and secretion of nectar are poorly understood. Indeed, there are no genes known to directly affect the de novo production or quality of floral nectar. To address this gap in knowledge, the long-term goals of this research are to elucidate the underlying mechanisms of nectar production in the agriculturally important family Brassicaceae, and how this understanding can be translated into higher yields in multiple crop species. As an initial step, the means by which the coordinated expression of genes in nectary tissues are involved in the synthesis and secretion of nectar will be examined. A combination of Affymetrix DNA microarray and DNA sequencing analyses will be used to identify genes that are required for the synthesis and secretion of nectar in flowering plants. The researchers are using resources at MSI laboratories to process the large amounts of data that are produced through this project.

Group Members

Began Fekete, Graduate Student
Brian Kram, Research Associate
Adam Olson, Graduate Student
Jeffrey Ruhlmann, Graduate Student