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Plant Developmental Genetics Laboratory

Research

  1. 1) Seed development and gene imprinting
    Angiosperms develop seeds in which both embryo and endosperm are generated by double fertilization. Fertilization of a diploid central cell in the embryo sac with haploid sperm produces the endosperm, where several genes are paternally or maternally expressed in a parent-of-origin-specific manner, a phenomenon known as gene imprinting. Gene imprinting involves diverse epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation and histone modifications.
  2. 2) DNA methylation/demethylation
    Most eukaryotes regulate their chromatin structure and gene expression by epigenetic processes such as DNA methylation and histone modifications. In general, DNA methylation represses gene expression and is one of the major epigenetic components involved in gene imprinting, differentiation and development, and genome stability in plants. DNA demethylation, a process to reverse DNA methylation, is achieved by specific 5-methylcytosine DNA glycosylases. The DEMETER (DME) family genes are responsible for active DNA demethylation in plants. We are studying the biochemical characteristics of DME family proteins and their impacts on the epigenome structure from an evolutionary standpoint./li>
  3. 3) Epigenetics and polyploidy
    Polyploidy refers to a numerical change in a whole set of chromosomes either by spontaneous genome doubling (autopolyploidy) or by the hybridization between different species (allopolyploidy). The ‘triangle of U’ proposed by Dr. Woo Jang-choon well explains the evolution of allopolyploidy species in the Brassica genus. We are studying ‘Baemoochae’ xBrassicoraphanus , an intergeneric hybrid between Brassica rapa (chinese cabbage) and Raphanus sativus (radish) in an effort to understand the epigenetic factors responsible for genome stabilization and transcriptional regulation to overcome genome incompatibility.
  4. 4) Secondary metabolites
    Plants produce a variety of secondary metabolites such as pigments, aromatic compounds, and defense molecules. In particular, carotenoids and anthocyanins are major natural pigments responsible for diverse colors of flowers and fruits. We are currently studying the genetics of anthocyanin biosynthesis in Korean lawn grass (Zoysia japonica ) by analyzing individual pigments and transcriptome profiles between the two cultivars with different coloration in stolon and panicle.

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