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January 2009 - March 2010

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University of Minnesota
College of Biological Sciences
College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences
Department of Plant Biology

PI: Susan I. Gibson

Molecular Genetic and Genomic Analysis of Arabidopsis, Soybean, and Periwinkle

To help identify the molecular mechanisms by which plants sense and respond to the levels of soluble sugars, such as glucose and sucrose, Affymetrix GeneChips are being used to identify Arabidopsis genes that are regulated by these and other sugars. Affymetrix GeneChips are also being used to identify genes that are expressed at different levels in developing seeds from soybean lines that exhibit a range of different seed yields and compositions. Identification of these genes represents a first step towards identifying the genes that control these yield and quality traits in soybean. These researchers are also studying the effects of under- and over-expressing specific transcription factors on production of certain terpenoid indole alkaloids in periwinkle,. These terpenoid indole alkaloids include several that are of use to the pharmaceutical industry, such as vincristine and vinblastine, which are used to treat certain forms of cancer. The goal of this research is to develop an improved understanding of the synthesis of these compounds, so that plants can be metabolically engineered to produce higher levels of them, reducing the costs of these drugs.

Group Members

Yadong Huang, Graduate Student
Chun-Yao Li, Research Associate
Rongshuang Lin, Research Associate
Toko Mori, Graduate Student