Gene regulation in seeds: Glimpses of parental conflict?

Satyaki Rajavasireddy, PhD
Department of Biological Sciences, U of T
Friday, March 1, 2024 - 11:00am
Ramsay Wright Building, Room 432
Invited Speaker Seminar
Seeds are the keystone to agriculture and supply two-thirds of humanity’s nutrition. Seeds are also biologically fascinating. They consist of the seed coat, the endosperm, and the embryo. Endosperm -produced by fertilization and sandwiched between the embryo and the maternally derived seed coat- is a placental tissue that mediates maternal nutrient transfer to the embryo and uses parental cues to control seed development and dormancy. These features make endosperm a focal point for parental regulation of seed development and a potential site of parental conflict. Parental Conflict Hypothesis suggests that in viviparous species where a mother has multiple mates, genes that promote growth favor the father's fitness and can become imprinted to express from paternal alleles. On the other hand, genes that repress growth favor the mother's fitness can become imprinted and be expressed from maternal alleles. How parental conflict shapes the cellular machinery regulating the expression of growth-regulating genes remains unclear. During this seminar, I will present work that shows the potential fingerprints of parental conflict on gene regulation in the endosperm. Our lab is also interested in creating simple tools to modify plant genomes. In this context, I will present our work on creating simple tools to induce structural variation in plant genomes.
Professor Daphne Goring
Dept of Cell and Systems Biology