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Elena M. Kramer
Professor, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138

Elena M. Kramer

Research in the Kramer lab can be broadly described as plant developmental evolution.  We are primarily interested in questions such as: How do new organ identity programs evolve? What are the patterns of gene lineage evolution across the angiosperms? What effect has gene duplication had on the evolution of gene function?  Along these lines, our work has focused on floral evolution and the diversification of the MADS box gene family of transcription factors.  We have sought to incorporate a diverse array of approaches, including studies of gene lineage evolution, comparative analyses of morphology and gene expression, application of genetic tools to assess functional evolution, development of new model species, and molecular systematics. Foremost among our research projects is the development of the eudicot genus Aquilegia as a new model system for the study of plant ecology and evolution.

In terms of specific research projects, the Kramer lab is studying the role of gene duplications in the evolution of novel floral organs in Aquilegia. In addition, we are using laser microdissection and Illumina sequencing to further characterize unique developmental programs in petaloid sepals, nectar spurs and staminodia.  We have adapted an RNAi-based gene silencing approach (VIGS) for Aquilegia and have trained and/or provided resources for this technique to a number of other laboratories, including those working on other emerging plant models. We are currently involved in annotating the Aquilegia genome, which has been sequenced by JGI-DOE. Other areas of interest in the lab include the evolution of miRNA families in land plants, the function of chromatin remodeling factors in Aquilegia and the genetic basis of flowering time control in Aquilegia.

Selected References

  1. Puzey, J. R. and E. M. Kramer. (2009) Identification of conserved Aquilegia coerulea microRNAs and their targets. Gene, 448:46-56.
  2. Kramer, E. M. (2009). Aquilegia – A new model for plant development, ecology and evolution. Annual Reviews of Plant Biology, 60:261-277.
  3. Rasmussen, D. E., E. M. Kramer, and E. A. Zimmer. (2009) One size fits all? Molecular evidence for a commonly inherited petal identity program in the Ranunculales. American Journal of Botany, 96:96-109.
  4. Kramer, E. M., L. Holappa, B. Gould, M. A. Jaramillo, D. Setnikov, and P. Santiago. (2007) Elaboration of B gene function to include the identity of novel floral organs in the lower eudicot Aquilegia (Ranunculaceae). Plant Cell, 19:750-766.

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