To divide or not? The importance of division to hair formation in plants


Multi-cellular hairs (trichomes) are important chemical factories in plants (producing flavours and fragrances) and provide them with protection against biotic and abiotic stresses. Understanding of the genetic control of multicellular hairs is limited and this project aims to build knowledge of this genetic control in tomato, using newly-produced mutants in key regulatory genes.

The project aims to compare regulation of multicellular hair development in tomato with single-celled hair development in Arabidopsis and to establish how the induction of DNA replication without cell division (endoreduplication) came to be the key regulatory step in hair development in Brassica species like Arabidopsis.

This project will offer state-of-the-art training in bioimaging, particularly scanning electron microscopy, genetics, synthetic biology, genome editing, cell fractionation, evolutionary biology and techniques for characterising gene function, in the context of the evolution of development in plants.