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Edward M. Golenberg

Wayne State University
Department of Biological Sciences Wayne State University
Detroit, MI 48202

313 577-2888

Taxa Studied: Plants
Techniques Employed: Degenerate PCR, Quantitative PCR (qPCR), Sanger Sequencing, Bioinformatics/Sequence Analysis, In Situ Hybridization, Sectioning for Histology, RNA interference(RNAi)
Research Description: Angiosperm evolution has been and continues to be rapid and extremely successful. It has been widely speculated that the major engine of this success is the evolution of the flower. The flower allows the plant to develop a faithful pollinator-plant gamete delivery system. Additionally, the hermaphrodite flower allows a spectrum of outcrossing strategies. Variation in the efficiency of fertilization and seed set can lead to differential selection within a population or anagenesis. Alternatively, changes in the presentation or delivery of gametes can lead to isolation within or among populations and thus cladogenesis. Simply stated, we can expect that genetic variation in flower morphology will have a direct effect on the fitness of the individual, and that the evolution of flower morphology will be largely driven by selection. As the molecular genetics of flower development becomes better understood through work on model systems such as Arabidopsis and Antirrhinum, the tools to explore the genetic basis of floral diversity within and among species, and, thus, angiosperm evolution, become manifest. The focus of my research program is the genetic basis of the development of sexual dimorphism and dioecy in Spinacia oleracea, cultivate spinach. In spinach, male and female flowers differentiate morphologically early in floral morphogenesis (stage 2) when sepal primordia are formed, but before either stamen or carpels have initiated. Hence, sexual dimorphism is established before stamen or carpel primordia are formed, and appears to follow canalized developmental pathways. We have been working on breaking down the genetic pathway and determining the points of regulation that are the basis for the evolution of this unique floral evolution.
Lab Web Page: http://www.clas.wayne.edu/faculty/golenberg
Willing to Host Undergraduates: YES
Actively Seeking Undergraduates: NO
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