This summer, I mainly worked with my lab’s Brachypodium distachyon transformation pipeline. The goal of this pipeline is to cultivate genetically mutated brachypodium plants to study the phenotypic effects of those mutations, and from that information, figuring out what those mutated genes control. My specific project was to mutate the ub2 transcription factor region of brachypodium plants and comparing them to the effects of mutations in the maize ortholog, ub2/ub3. In maize, it has been found that the ub2/ub3 transcription factor may control the production of leaves, tassel branches, and kernels in maize. My goal is to produce brachypodium plants with this ub2 mutation in order to investigate the effects on its phenotype.
The rest of my work this summer consisted of maize field work. I worked with my labmates to shoot-bag and phenotype our lab’s maize plants. The purpose of shoot-bagging is to prevent the maize ears from being openly pollinated, so that we could perform genetic crosses deliberately and avoid cross contamination. Phenotyping consisted of counting ear number, presence of husk leaves, and tiller length.
I am incredibly grateful that I had this opportunity to contribute to my lab’s body of work, and I hope to continue learning and developing as a researcher. Thank you to my amazing labmates and our P.I Madelaine Bartlett for teaching me everything I know.