Ms Ipeleng Randome
Several subgroups of transcription factors are found exclusively or preferentially in woody plant species. Majority of these transcription factors have xylem-specific expression, implying unique roles in xylem formation. Functional characterization of these transcription factors however remains largely unexplored due to a lack of medium-to -high throughput transformation and phenotyping approaches in tree species such as Eucalyptus grandis. My research involves the use of a newly developed medium-throughput hairy root transformation approach to functionally characterize up to five prioritized woody-plant preferential TFs in E. grandis. Clonal cuttings of E. grandis will be transformed with the PGWAY-0 vector overexpressing each of the candidate genes and the effects on secondary cell wall structure, xylem development and cell wall chemistry will be studied. Knowledge of the biological functions of the selected TFs will aid in efforts aimed at genetically improving the woody properties of commercial Eucalyptus and contribute to knowledge of the regulation of wood formation in woody plants.