Project Description :
Grasses are one of nature’s most successful experiments, the family displays a stunning amount of diversity. We have identified a previously uncharacterized family of plant genes that has undergone an extensive expansion during the evolution of grasses, and are likely contributing to grass development and physiology. We are looking for a motivated undergraduate to assist with a project studying these genes. To do this, we are using a CRISPR/Cas9 targeted knockout strategy in maize and Brachypodium distachyon. This project will require genetic screening of populations for genetic mutations, carefully looking for novel phenotypes, and crossing plants to create lines with multiple gene knockouts. Undergraduates will receive training in molecular biology, lab benchwork techniques, CRISPR guide design and analysis, plant growth and crossing technique, phylogenetics, and dissection/morphological characterization of plant specimens. Students should have taken some molecular biology classes, and should have an interest in plant biology, genetics, or development.