In order to test the function of specific genes or the impact of genetic variants on phenotype, genetic manipulation is required. The aim of the project is to assist with development or implementation of methods for genetic transformation and gene editing of sunflower or monkeyflower, the two main study systems in the lab. These methods will help extend the lab's capabilities and in doing so allow us to study our traits of interest (flowering time regulation, floral pigmentation) with a greater level of mechanistic understanding and rigor.
The undergraduate will learn sterile technique and methods for plant tissue culture in the process of implementing and troubleshooting genetic transformation methods for sunflower and monkeyflower. Specific tasks may include media preparation; transgene development; preparation of bacterial cultures; preparation, selection, and culture of plant explants; nucleic acid extraction; and genotyping of transformed or edit-carrying plants. The student is invited to participate in weekly Blackman lab group meetings as well.
Qualifications: Students with strong interests in evolution, development, and genetics will find the experience most rewarding. Attention to detail and good record keeping skills are essential. The student should be comfortable and enthusiastic about working in growth chamber conditions or applying sterile technique, and they will be expected to follow guidelines for safely doing so.