Evolution of genes controlling meiosis initiation in land plants
Mentor: Professor Yin-Long Qiu
A complete life cycle of sexually reproducing eukaryotes consists of a diploid phase and a haploid phase. The relative length of either phase varies greatly among different lineages of eukaryotes. Under a recently reconstructed molecular phylogeny of streptophytes (charophyte algae and land plants), we examined the pattern of life cycle change in Characeae, liverworts, mosses, hornworts, lycophytes, monilophytes, and seed plants, and found that the life cycle of land plants had evolved in a direction of continuously expanding the diploid phase while reducing the haploid phase. In other words, evolution of land plants can be viewed as a series of events of delaying meiosis after fertilization and reducing mitosis after meiosis. In this project, we investigate evolution of genes that are involved in the timing of meiosis initiation in a diverse set of land plants. Basic techniques include DNA extraction, gene amplification, cloning, sequencing, bioinformatic and evolutionary analyses. This work would be done on the Ann Arbor campus in the Qiu Laboratory.