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David Sparks Ph.d Plant reactome
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: April 10, 2017

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For the past several years and into the next few, OSU has been working on a $2.9 million grant, awarded by the National Science Foundation to develop an online database, called a plant reactome, with information about the molecular and genetic interactions in the cells of corn and rice. It will also gather scientific literature on other plants and add it to the database. The university will also study the role of growth hormones in the three plants.

Researchers will seek to better understand the genes that regulate photosynthesis in the plants as well as the yields in corn and rice when they're stressed by mineral deficiencies, drought and salt.

The plants were selected because their reference genomes have been sequenced completely and share many similar genes with major commercial crops, said Pankaj Jaiswal, a plant biologist who is overseeing OSU's part in the project. For example, rice and corn are related to wheat and barley.

Jaiswal hopes that the research will contribute toward the development of crops that yield more and resist diseases better. These improvements, he said, would ultimately benefit farmers and help feed the world's growing population. “ we are trying to catalog all the known events that involve the genes, the proteins and the biochemicals inside the cells of these plants so that we can better understand how the plant functions and contributes to the development of the plant itself.”

 

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