Role of reproductive sink size (RSS) as a driver for resource allocation in barley
Seed number and viability, together with the appropriate environment, determine a plant´s fitness. Barley (Hordeum vulgare) is the 4th most abundant crop plant in the world, for this reason the number of seed that a plant can produce play an important role on the agricultural production. It is known that the initiation and development of seeds requires extensive resource allocation over prolonged time periods. However, it is not yet known whether the total number of seeds that can be generated by a model or crop plant is source-limited or sink-controlled. The impact of resource availability on reproductive growth and seed formation has been studied in great detail, however, the role of reproductive sink size as a driver for resource allocation and photosynthetic activity remains not investigated. The aim of my project is to manipulate meristem functions and RSS by genome editing starting from barley homologs of Arabidopsis CLAVATA pathway genes involved in the well-studied pathway controlling the development and size of the meristem in Arabidopsis. Futhermore, I will investigate the role of sink strength in resource allocation and seeds production, using FRET based sensors and other cell biology toolboxes that allow direct measurements of metabolites and signalling pathway activities in living plants.
Starting date: 01.07.2019 / Doctoral Researcher
Thesis committee members: Rüdiger Simon, tba