Date of Award

2001

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Schlappi, Michael

Second Advisor

Waring, Gail

Third Advisor

Karrer, Kathleen

Abstract

The process of cold treatment, vernalization, plays a role in many flowering plants to control the developmental transition from vegetative to reproductive growth i.e. flowering. The major target of vernalization in the experimental plant system, Arabidopsis thalicma, is the down-regulation of FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC). High FLC mRNA levels in plants repress the transition to flowering and thus, delay flowering. A cold-requiring Arabidopsis plant is transformed into a biennial plant that has an obligate vernalization-requirement by overexpressing FLC mRNA levels. Biennial plants such as Hyoscyamus niger have an absolute requirement for vernalization. There is also a non-vernalization requiring annuaJ'variant of H. niger that is recessive to the bienniaJ phenotype. The dominance of the biennial phenotype and the genetic nature of FLC led to the hypothesis that an FLC homolog may function in biennial plants. Thus, we wanted to determine whether an FLC like homolog was present in H. niger, and whether these geoe(s) show biennial-versus annual-, or unvernalized- versus vernalized-specific expression patterns similar to FLC. By applying DNA and RNA gel blot analyses followed by a more general approach of isolating MADS genes by degenerate primer RTPCR, eight MADS box genes were obtained from biennial H. niger and characterized via ti ssue-specific RNA gel blot analysis. These are the first MADS clones obtained from H. niger and represent an important initial step to further characterizing MADS genes that may show homology to FLC.

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