Why so many colours? Genetics of flowers colour in the spring plant, Dame's Rocket
Evolutionary Biology
Many of the plant species grown in gardens have multiple colour varieties. Roses come in white, pink, red, yellow and even purple. Wild plant species generally come in only one, and very rarely, two colours. The thought is that natural selection favors the one colour that promotes faithful visitation by bees or other pollinator species. Dame's Rocket is quite unusual in that a roside patch of it will almost always include four flower colours: white, pale-pink, deep pink and purple. My lab has just started a project to determine how this colour diversity is maintained. We are looking for motivated and hard-working students to assist us in working out the genetics of flower color. This will entail both greenhouse rearing of controlled, hand-pollinated crosses among the colour forms, and laboratory work preparing RNA samples for sequencing. Students will get practical training for these procedures, as well as exposure to statistical and bioinformatic routines for data analysis.
Lab experience realted to plant rearing or DNA/RNA preparation is desirable, but not needed. Studetns will be epected to make at least two oral presentations (15-20 min) at weekly laboratory meetings. They will also produce an end-of-year paper that summarizes results.
Time commitment
Students must commit to greenhouse plant care, which will include planting, watering and harvesting of plant materials, 3-6 days per week, including 1-2 hours on one day each (most) weekends. Total requested time commitment is 8 hours per week (including 1 hour for the weekly lab meeting).
Interests and basic coursework in evolutionary biology and ecology. Interest and enthsiam for science is much more important than GPA!
Positions available
3 positions available
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Reserved positions for 1st and 2nd year students available
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