W464 Stable transformation, a strategic tool for fern functional genomics

Date: Saturday, January 14, 2012
Time: 5:30 PM
Room: Sunrise
Muthukumar Balasubramaniam , University of Tennessee, KNOXVILLE, TN
Blake L. Joyce , University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
C. Neal Stewart Jr. , University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
Mark Elless , Edenspace Systems Corporation, Herndon, VA
Ferns are the second most diverse group of land plants composed of 250 genera, occupy an important role in the evolution of gymnosperms and angiosperms. The group lacks any stable transformation method, and this hampers studies of functional genomics.  Among ferns, Pteris vittata the only known arsenic hyperaccumulator and model C-ferns are the most studied of the pteridophyte. Our current efforts are focused on the development of stable transformation methods of these two fern species, using native and canonical constitutive promoters that regulate various marker genes such as GUS and fluorescent proteins. These tools will help to develop overexpression and knockdown studies to understand their uniqueness in stress tolerance, pest resistance and allelopathy. These tools will also elucidate to understand ferns’ metabolic, physiological pathways using RNAi studies in their all life stages including haploid gametophyte and diploid sporophyte stages.