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Research Abstracts Online
January 2009 - March 2010

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences
Department of Plant Pathology

PI: Deborah A. Samac

Functional Genomics of Biotic Stress Resistance and Cell Wall Development in Medicago truncatula

Medicago truncatula is an emerging model for investigating plant biology and plant-microbe interactions. This project uses the Affymetrix Medicago GeneChip for uncovering genes expressed in both M. truncatula and alfalfa, a close relative that is widely cultivated in the U.S. The researchers are investigating genes expressed in response to the powdery mildew pathogen Erysiphe pisi in both disease-susceptible and disease-resistant lines. In addition, they are performing experiments to identify genes involved in development of seed coat components in order to identify genes involved in anthocyanin and tannin production. Finally, they are investigating expression of transcription factors involved in xylem development and cell wall synthesis. The goal of the latter project is to identify genes that will impact use of alfalfa as a bioenergy feed stock. A new project is investigation of molecular and pathogenic variation in Bipolaris oryzae, a fungal pathogen of cultivated wild rice in Minnesota, and molecular variation in the alfalfa pathogen Phoma sclerotioides.

Group Members

Claudia Castell-Miller, Research Associate
Melinda Dornbusch, Research Associate
Jamie O’Rourke, Staff