Abstract Detail

A Botanist at the Extreme: Honoring the great contributions of Dr. Vicki A. Funk

Jones, Daniel [1], Bonifacino, Mauricio [2], Burke, John [3], Mandel, Jennifer [4], Nimchuk, Zachary [5].

Putting our heads together: utilizing comparative genomics to understand capitulum development and evolution in the Asteraceae.

The global success of the Asteraceae has long been attributed to the evolution of the family’s shared floral architecture, the capitulum. Capitula are compact inflorescences that appear and function as a single flower but are comprised of many individual florets. While pseudanthia, or “false flowers”, have evolved independently in other angiosperm lineages, members of the Asteraceae family demonstrate the broadest conservation of this floral innovation, suggesting that the genetic programs regulating capitulum development may be shared across the family’s otherwise very diverse taxa. It is hypothesized that the capitulum evolved from a diffuse inflorescence type (a more common morphology among angiosperms), in a process that would require widening of the shoot meristem (inflorescence meristem expansion) as well as the suppression of internode elongation between flowers. Using developmental transcriptomics in domesticated sunflower (Helianthus annuus), we identified differentially expressed (DE) genes that may play a role in regulating these processes. By clustering these DE genes based on their expression profiles, we produced sets of genes that are co-expressed during key transitional stages of capitulum development that can now be compared to non-capitulum forming species to aid in identifying novel genetic programming specific to Asteraceae species. To facilitate these comparisons, we have assembled de novo transcriptomes of shoot meristem tissues from diverse Asteraceae species alongside members of closely related families, including: the Campanulaceae, Goodeniaceae and Calyceraceae. Additionally, chromosome-scale genome assemblies of these important outgroups are being constructed to aid in comparative genomic efforts. This study represents a collaborative attempt to bridge genomic information gaps across the Campanulids, providing invaluable resources for a better understanding of Asteraceae evolution.

1 - Auburn University, Biological Sciences, 101 Rouse Life Sciences, 332, Auburn, AL, 36849, United States
2 - Universidad de la Rep├║blica (Uruguay)
3 - University Of Georgia, Dept Of Plant Biology, Miller Plant Sciences, Athens, GA, 30602, United States
4 - University Of Memphis, Biological Sciences, 3700 Walker Ave, 339 Ellington Hall, Memphis, TN, 38152, United States
5 - University of North Carolina, 4155 Genome Sciences Building, 250 Bell Tower Drive, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599, United States

Floral Development
Meristem development
comparative genomics

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Number: S4004
Abstract ID:531
Candidate for Awards:None

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