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INVESTIGATING THE MOLECULAR MECHANISMS CONTROLLING PLANT FORM AND FUNCTION

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Using a combination of genetic, genomic and biochemical approaches, we are investigating the regulation of a wide range of developmental processes including wood formation, seed development, trichome development, and flowering time. Many of these processes are affected by the plant hormone ethylene and we aim to better understand how ethylene is involved, and how it interacts with other factors to control plant development.

 Genomic Resources For Potato and Poplar,

As a result of generous funding by Genome Canada, our lab has produced large populations of mutant potatoes and poplars by a process known as activation tagging. First developed in Arabidopsis by Detlef Weigel at the Salk Institue. Activation tagging is the result of inserting a strong enhancer (usually from the Cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter) into the genome. The insertion of the enhancer can result in the activation of a neighbouring gene usually causing a gain-of-function phenotype. Once produced, the challenge is to design screening strategies for the lines to identify interesting phenotypes and ultimately, identifying key genes for traits of interest.

Canadian Potato Genome Project Website http://www.cpgp.ca
We have produced more than 6000 independant lines .

Arborea Project Website http://www.arborea.ulaval.ca/en/
We have produced 2000 independant lines .

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As we uncover the molecular mechanisms controling plant development in model systems such as Arabidopsis and poplar, we hope to eventually apply this knowledge to important forest and agricultural crops.