Speaker: Sarah Anderson, Postdoctoral Associate in the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
Title: Nature’s genome engineers: understanding the contribution of transposable elements to maize diversity
Abstract: Transposable elements (TEs) are genetic elements that are unique in their ability to move and replicate in genomes. TEs comprise the majority of large crop genomes and are a source of noncoding genetic variation within and among species. There are several well-characterized examples of TE polymorphisms creating phenotypic changes in maize, though the extent to which TEs contribute to expression variation on a genome-wide scale is unknown. A survey of TE variability across four assembled maize genomes reveals over 1.6 Gb of variable TE sequences, with over half of all maize genes near a TE that is variable among genotypes. While the majority of variable TEs are tolerated by the genome, analysis of TE expression and chromatin state uncovers a subset of TEs with the potential to influence gene expression through the introduction of novel regulatory elements. Through integration of genomic analysis, natural variation, and genome editing, I can begin to uncover the dynamic contributions of TEs to expression novelty in plants.
Host: Hua Bai