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The evolutionary history of genomic imprinting: insights from the imprinted gene BMI1C - An evolutionary comparative approach going beyond model species
Genomic imprinting is an epigenetic phenomenon by which the imprinted genes are expressed in a parent-of-origin-dependent manner. This means that there is uni-directional parental influence, but it is not manifested in and inherited with the genome. In the model species Arabidopsis thaliana, imprinting is so far found in the endosperm, which is the nutrient tissue for seed development and has an unbalanced ratio of maternal to paternal genomes. During the past several years, the number of imprinted genes identified in plants has been increased; however, the evolutionary origin of genomic imprinting remains largely unknown. Different hypotheses have been proposed to explain the evolutionary origin and maintenance of genomic imprinting, such as the defense hypothesis, the kinship hypothesis (parental conflict theory) and the co-adaptation hypothesis. All these hypotheses require further experimental data to support them, because they are mostly build upon few model systems not considering evolutionary history and comparative analyses. We have recently discovered that the Polycomb Group gene AtBMI1C is an imprinted gene in the endosperm of Arabidopsis thaliana. We propose to investigate the evolutionary history of BMI1C gene using Arabidopsis´ wild relatives and various related species from the genus Capsella with different mating systems and life-history traits and conducting genomic and gene expression analyses. This study will provide significant insights of the possible evolutionary mechanism driving the genomic imprinting, as well as the possible selective advantages of imprinting for seed development.
PhD study supervised by Prof. Koch and Dr. Calonje in Biodiversity and Plant Systematics, COS, Heidelberg
Master student in the major as Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology of Plants (MCDBP), Heidelberg University, Germany.
Research assistant, National Key Laboratory of Plant Molecular Genetics, Institute of Plant Physiology & Ecology, Shanghai Institute for Biological Sciences (SIBS), Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, P.R.China.
High school teacher for biological sciences, Jinan 1st high school. Jinan, P.R.China.
Bachelor student in the major of Life Science, Shandong Normal University, Jinan, P.R.China.
Yang C. *, Bratzel F. *, Hohmann N, Koch MA, Turck F, Calonje M. (2013) VAL proteins and AtBMI1 mediated H2Aub: the key to switch from embryonic to vegetative growth in Arabidopsis. Current Biology, 23, 1324-1329.
Bratzel F. *, Yang C. *, Angelova A. *, Lopez-Torrejon G., Koch M., Del Pozo J.C., Calonje M. (2012) Regulation of the new Arabidopsis Imprinted Gene AtBMI1C Requires the Interplay of Different Epigenetic Mechanisms. Mol. Plant, 5 (1): 260-269.
Liu H-K, Yang C, Wei Z-M. (2005) Heat shock-regulated site-specific excision of extraneous DNA in transgenic plants. Plant Science, 168: 997-1003.
Liu H-K, Yang C, Wei Z-M. (2004) Efficient Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation of soybeans using an embryonic tip regeneration system. Planta, 219:1042-1049.
Yang M, Yang C, Hou W, Zhang Q, Wang B. (2002) Effects of NaCl and KCl stress on the roots and shoots of Suaeda. Journal of Shandong Normal University, 17:68-72.
Chinese Government Award for outstanding Chinese PhD student studying abroad awarded by China Scholarship Council.
Schmeil award to PhD student sponsored by Schmeil-Stiftung Heidelberg
Fellowships for Individual Doctoral Training Founded through LGFG (Landesgraduiertenfördenung)