The molecular basis of dormancy release
With climate warming, trees in the temperate zone are leaving out earlier. This project aims at figuring out when genes responsible for leaf out are being expressed in dormant buds. So far, the genetic mechanisms underlying the transition from winter dormancy to bud break and leaf unfolding are poorly understood. One problem is that we do not have a validated molecular marker to demarcate bud dormancy. The only temperate tree with the required genomic tools is Populus tremula x tremuloides. In this species, the expression of certain clock genes changes with bud burst. The heads on student will analyze these genes' transcription rates via qRT-PCR in species with large buds that we have in cultivation. A pilot study already tested for RNA isolation out of leaf primordial tissue in buds and established two candidate genes. Reliable protocols and sufficient RNA from leaf buds are therefore available. However, the results showed that cloning of the PCR products is required. The student working in this project will learn qRT-PCR, the most popular method to quantify differential gene expression between two or more samples. He/she will also contribute towards the ultimate goal of studying the molecular basis of dormancy in temperate woody species.
For further information or to apply for the project please contact Prof. Susanne Renner.