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Jody Banks

Purdue University
Lilly Hall
Dept. Botany and Plant Pathology
West Lafayette, IN 47906


Taxa Studied: Plants
Techniques Employed: Degenerate PCR, Quantitative PCR (qPCR), 454 Pyrosequencing, Solexa (Illumina) Sequencing, SOLiD Sequencing, Bioinformatics/Sequence Analysis, In Situ Hybridization, Sectioning for Histology, Scanning Electron Microscopy, Epifluoresence Microscopy, Time-Lapse Microscopy, Transgenesis, Mutagenesis, RNA interference(RNAi)
Research Description: My lab addresses three big questions: 1) Selaginella moellendorffii has a very small genome and was recently sequenced by JGI. Selaginella is a lycophyte, a lineage that diverged from other vascular plants over 400Myr ago and is critical for inferring the early evolution of land plants. We are interested in developing tools in Selaginella that will allow us to test the functions of genes that are associated with developmental innovations in land plants. 2) The fern Ceratopteris is a model genetic system for studying gametophyte development, including sex determination. After generating mutants that affect the sex of the gametophyte, we have identified the sex-determining pathway in this fern. New sequencing technologies should allow us to clone the master sex-regulatory genes, giving us a the tools we need to address major questions related to the evolution of sexual reproduction in land plants. 3) The fern Pteris vittata is remarkable for it's ability to tolerate and hyperaccumulation arsenic (>3% of the frond is arsenite). How did this trait evolve? After identifying genes necessary for this trait and developing RNAi tools for ferns, we are now poised to address this question, which has implications for the remediation of arsenic contaminated soils.
Lab Web Page:
Willing to Host Undergraduates: YES
Actively Seeking Undergraduates: YES
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