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The history of Arabidopsis Research

Maarten Koornneef - emeritus professor at Wageningen University

When 19 Oct, 2022 from
02:30 pm to 04:00 pm
Where ITQB NOVA Auditorium
Contact Name Nelson Saibo
Contact Email
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Arabidopsis thaliana was introduced as model for genetics by Friedrich Laibach in 1943. Its use was slowly growing in the 1950 and 1960ties but collapsed in the seventies when I started my PhD in 1976. Ten years later its use was rising again because of the need of a genetic model that could be used for molecular genetics. Especially its small genome looked attractive. Later the efficiency to transform the plant (by floral dipping) became very relevant as it allowed the generation of thousands of knockout mutants. Efficient mutant screens (e.g. photoreceptor and plant hormone mutants by us and others) and the development of map based cloning technology of the genes mutated became important tools to understand the function of genes. The complete sequence in 2000 was a highlight. Around that time we and others started to develop again the study of natural variation for e.g. flowering time (FLand seed dormancy led to the discovery of important genes FLC, FRI, DOG1). Natural variation is currently used for genome wide association studies (GWAS) e.g. of variation in photosynthesis in my former group in Wageningen (Mark Aarts) using modern phenotyping tools. Nowadays genomics is much better accessible for larger genome (crop) plants but still Arabidopsis is often used as the reference plant and as the resource for candidate genes and for testing gene functions (combination of mutants and transgenics).


This seminar is the opening session of the Plants for Life PhD retreat, organized by the Plants for Life PhD students.

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