Project Description :
Male corn flowers undergo programmed cell death to selectively delete female sex organs. Although this process is critical to development and, in turn, to crop production, little is known about the genes controlling corn sex determination. Our lab has identified corn mutants that do not undergo programmed cell death in flowers. We are working towards understanding which genes have been disrupted in these mutants, and how they function in normal flower development. We are seeking a motivated undergraduate to assist with a project studying these genes. This project will involve analyzing corn mutant phenotypes to determine the interaction between floral organ identity and programmed cell death. Undergraduates will receive training in molecular biology, genetics, and phylogenetics. Students must have an interest in plant biology, genetics, evolution, or development.