University of Cambridge > > Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars > Molecular genetics of autistic: the arbuscular mycorrhizal mutant of maize

Molecular genetics of autistic: the arbuscular mycorrhizal mutant of maize

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Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) endosymbiosis is a mutualistic interaction that occurs between the fungi of the Glomeromycota and the majority of land plants. This interaction evolved over 400 million years ago and was likely important when plants were adapting to terrestrial life. As obligate biotrophs, AM fungi (AMF) depend on plants for their supply of carbon. In exchange, the fungus enhances the supply of nutrients and water to the plant. AMF are an inherent part of natural and agricultural ecosystems and can contribute to sustainable agriculture through numerous ecosystem services. Before endosymbiosis can occur, both the plant and the fungus must recognise the other, and prepare for physical contact. A pre-symbiotic molecular dialogue in the rhizosphere mediates this stage. I study a maize mutant, autistic, which is perturbed in AM symbiosis. The mutation probably perturbs the early stages of symbiosis. My aim is to characterise this mutant, clone the gene underlying this phenotype, and help elucidate its function. A better understanding of the mechanisms underlying AM can contribute to sustainable agriculture in maize and other crops.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars series.

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