SURF

Angel Jung

Characterization of ms32, a bHLH Gene Required for Tapetum Development in Maize

Increasing crop yields has always been a global issue. One of the largest studies of domestic hunger, Hunger in American 2010, reported, hunger is increasing at an alarming rate in the United States (Feeding America). My research this summer focuses on identifying a bHLH gene, ms32, which promotes fertility in maize (corn), the most widely grown grain crop. As the anther – the male reproductive organ in plants – matures during early development, five distinct layers are formed and required for meiosis to function properly. One of the five layers, the tapetal layer, is crucial for the development of pollen grains, which are the male gametes, and is regulated by the ms32 gene. A mutant in this gene causes excess cell division in the tapetal layer, causing pollen mother cells to collapse, rendering the plant sterile. A better understanding of this bHLH gene will prevent additional division in the layer and allow for fertile plants.

Message to Sponsor

Please allow me to thank the donors of this SURF/Rose Hills fellowship for their considerable generosity towards a group of fortunate undergraduates this summer. With their contribution to my research, I have been able to fully commit to my lab and gain a sense of the daily life of a scientist. More importantly, I have been given the opportunity to gain a unique experience in which I can receive constructive advice from mentors and other SURF researchers, which I would otherwise not have been able to do. For this, I am truly grateful and honored. Thank you!
  • Major: Integrative Biology
  • Sponsor: Rose Hills Foundation
  • Mentor: Zacheus Cande, Molecular and Cell Biology