Research Genomic Research
The Genomics team of the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Dallas focuses on applying genomics and molecular genetics to crop improvement, with an emphasis on tropical and subtropical crops. The team is comprised of researchers with expertise in bioinformatics, evolutionary genomics, genetics, and molecular biology. Current research topics include genomic dissection of the polyploidy sugarcane genome for energy cane improvement, flower development and sex chromosome evolution in Caricaceae, genomics of abiotic stress tolerance in warm-season turfgrass, and gene regulatory networks underlying CAM photosynthesis in pineapple.
TAIR - The Arabidopsis Information Resource maintains a database of genetic and molecular biology data for the model higher plant Arabidopsis thaliana . Click to visit TAIR
CoGe - a platform for performing comparative genomics research, providing an open-ended network of interconnected tools to manage, analyze, and visualize next-gen data. Click to visit CoGe
JGI Phytozome - the Plant Comparative Genomics portal of the Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute, a hub for accessing, visualizing and analyzing JGI-sequenced plant genomes, and selected genomes and datasets sequenced elsewhere. Click to visit JGI Phytozome
PlantGDB - A collection of tools and resources for plant genomics. Click to visit PlantGDB
NCBI - National Center for Biotechnology Information provides access to biomedical and genomic information.Click to visit NCBI
Plant TFDB - Plant Transcription Factor Database. Click to visit Plant TFDB
Genomic dissection of complex traits in polyploid sugarcane to improve sugar and bioenergy production
As a C4 plant, sugarcane (Saccharum spp. Poaceae) has been recognized as one of the world’s most efficient crops in converting solar energy into chemical energy. Sugarcane is also among the crops having the most favorable input/output ratios. However, the large genome size, high ploidy level, interspecific hybridization and aneuploidy make sugarcane one of the most complex genomes and have long hampered genome research in sugarcane. Modern sugarcane cultivars are derived from interspecific hybridization between S. officinarum and S. spontaneum with 80-90% of the genome from S. officinarum and 10-20% of the genome from S. spontaneum. We are using genomics tools to dissect the complex polyploidy sugarcane genome and study allelic variations of major genes affecting biomass yield in sugarcane aiming to understand the complex mechanisms leading to the superior productivity of sugarcane.
Flower development and sex chromosome evolution in caricaceae
Unlike most animal species that produce unisexual individuals, the majority of flowering plants produce flowers that are ‘perfect’ and contain both ‘male’ and ‘female’ organs. Less than 10% of plant species produce flowers, which are unisexual. Papaya is a polygamous plant species producing both dioecious and perfect flowers and provides an opportunity for comparative analysis of flower development in dioecious and hermaphrodite plant species.
The sex determination system in papaya is particularly intriguing, not only because it has three sex types within the species, also because it shows frequent sex reversal caused by environmental factors. Recent studies showed that sex determination in papaya is controlled by a pair of primitive sex chromosomes. We are cloning the sex determination genes in papaya and performing comparative genomics analysis to understand the origin and evolution of sex chromosomes in Caricaceae.
Genomics of abiotic stress tolerance in warm-season turfgrasses
Turfgrass is the largest irrigated crop and the 2nd largest seed crop in the United States with about $57.9 billion annual production value. It was estimated that the total acreage of turfgrass in the United States was approximately 50 million acres, an area larger than the total acreage for cotton, sorghum, barley, and oats. As drinking water becomes more and more scarce, developing turfgrass cultivars with reduced water demands and/or cultivars that can tolerate effluent or brackish water leaving fresh water for municipal needs becomes a high priority.
The long-term scientific goal of the project is to determine the gene regulatory network that regulates salt tolerance in Zoysia matrella. Results of this research will significantly advance our understanding of the genetic and molecular basis of salt tolerance in zoysiagrass, and will be critical for designing strategies to develop turfgrass for the future.