Rebecca Bloomer

Doctor of Philosophy, (Plant Biology)
Study Completed: 2013
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
The molecular genetic basis of natural variation in trichome density in Arabidopsis Thaliana

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Identifying the genes and mutations that underlie natural variation in organisms is central to our understanding of the origins and maintenance of biological diversity, and remains a significant challenge for evolutionary biology. Leaf hairs (trichomes) on plants often serve as a defence against insect predation and provide a powerful model for such studies. The genetic pathway underlying trichome development in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana is well-defined and provides a strong link between natural organismal variation and genetic variation. This study took genetic mapping and candidate gene approaches to identify genomic regions, genes and specific genetic changes that underlie variation in trichome density among globally distributed populations of A. thaliana. Both approaches provided evidence of a central role for genes in the trichome developmental pathway in generating variation in trichome density in A. thaliana, highlighting the importance of regulatory genes in contributing to natural variation within species.

Dr Vaughan Symonds
Professor Peter Lockhart