Molecular analysis of Photomorphogenesis in tomato

Light has profound effects on the development of plants. The light-mediated changes in plant growth and development are called photomorphogenesis.Of the several facets of photomorphogenesis, we are interested in Phototropism in tomato .My lab is actively engaged in isolating and characterizing phototropic mutants of tomato. Till date we have successfully isolated quite a few mutants defective in their response to light.We are now currently analysing the genetic, biochemical and molecular characteristics of these mutants.

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Molecular genetics of plant development using tomato mutants

The flowering plants, which are called as angiosperms, are the most abundant group in the plant kingdom. Angiosperms can be distinguished on two distinct subgroups monocots and dicots on the basis of number of the cotyledons in the embryo. Unlike animals plants do not form well-defined organs during embryo development other than cotyledon. In plants the other organ as well as the whole body shape develops postembryonically. In my lab we are studying the genetic and molecular regulation of cotyledon development in tomato. We have isolated two mutants, which are defective in cotyledon development.

One of these mutant forms more than two cotyledons termed as polycotyledon (poc), consisting of both tricot and tetracot seedlings. Another mutant is defective in cotyledon expansion and makes narrow petioleless cotyledons (npc). At the moment we are examining physiology and molecular biology of these mutants in tomato.

We are also studying other aspects of plant development particularlry root development and fruit ripening in tomato. We have isolated novel root mutants affected in early root development.

Tomato is cultivated world wide for its delicious fruits. We are also studying the process of fruit ripening in tomato using known developmental mutants.

The basic approach of this program is to identify new loci and map the position of these genes. These loci would then be cloned to determine molecular identity and function of these genes.

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