02 - Exploring the Genetics of Leaf Development through Hybridization and Transcriptomics
University of California, Davis
Leaves are the interface through which plant species capture sunlight and carbon dioxide in order to synthesize sugars. Leaf morphology, therefore, plays an important role in determining a plant€s photosynthetic ability. Here, we seek to characterize the development of leaf morphology from a genetic standpoint by performing genetic analyses of hybrid offspring of two plant species, Lepidium hyssopifolium and Lepidium oleraceum. While the parental species have simple and complex leaves, respectively, the hybrid lines exhibit a wide variety of intermediate leaf morphologies. First, a transcriptome (set of expressed RNA molecules) for each parent species is assembled from parental sequence data. Mapping of sequence data from the hybrid lines back to each parent transcriptome reveals the parental origins and expression levels of the expressed genes in the hybrid lines. This information, along with the observed leaf phenotypes of the hybrid plants, will provide insight into the roles that specific genes and gene groups play in leaf development and ultimate leaf morphology.