MEC DGICYT APC95-019, 1996

Principal Investigator: José Luis Micol.
Investigators: Genoveva Berná Amorós, Pedro Robles Ramos and Héctor Candela Antón.
División de Genética. Universidad de Alicante.

Genetic dissection of leaf morphogenesis in Arabidopsis thaliana

Developmental genetics is one of the main foundations of today's rapidly advancing knowledge of developmental mechanisms. Key insights of the past twenty years of research in biology come from the study of mutants showing abnormal morphologies. The genetic and molecular analysis of morphogenetic mutants has been extremely useful in animal studies but it has not yet been widely applied to plant research.

Leaves are essential organs for plants. They are the reason by which some crop plants have commercial interest, play a fundamental role in the growth of plants and are the organs through plants act as vital elements in regulating levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. In spite of this, the genetic processes underlying leaf growth and morphogenesis are poorly understood.

In this project, a mutational approach will be used to attempt to elucidate the genetic controls underlying leaf development. We will use Arabidopsis thaliana as an experimental system for the study of morphogenetic mutants affecting leaf size, shape and venation pattern. Our objectives are (a) to isolate and characterize new mutants, (b) to perform their genetic analysis trying to elaborate a genetic model for leaf growth, development and pattern formation, and (c) to undergo the molecular analysis of some of the mutants, to contribute to elucidation of the molecular mechanisms that underlie plant developmental processes.