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Dr. Stephan Greiner
Dr. Stephan Greiner
Phone:+49 331 567-8349

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When plant pollen fertilizes an ovum, the genetic material in the nucleus and the chloroplasts must harmonize. Stephan Greiner from the MPI-MP would like to find out which factors in the chloroplasts prevent the interbreeding of plant species. To do this, he works with a model plant that's not too particular when it comes to the species boundary: the evening primrose.
By Catarina Pietschmann.
Max Planck Research 4/12

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Teaching University of Potsdam

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Department Bock

Cytoplasmic and Evolutionary Genetics

The research group of Dr. Stephan Greiner focuses on molecular and mechanistic aspects of plant evolution. We concentrate on the role of cytoplasmic genetic elements (the organelle genomes of chloroplasts and mitochondria) in plant adaptation and speciation.

 

The model organism Oenothera (evening primrose) is used to elucidate the influence of the cytoplasmic genetic elements (plastids and mitochondria) on breeding relevant traits and to study mechanism of asexual inheritance.

The model organism Oenothera (evening primrose) is used to elucidate the influence of the cytoplasmic genetic elements (plastids and mitochondria) on breeding relevant traits and to study mechanism of asexual inheritance.

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Organelle genomes play an important role in local adaption of plants to diverse environments. This is exemplified by chloroplast genotype distribution that follows ecological niches shaped by environmental factors such as solar radiation or precipitation. Obviously, environmental changes, for example resulting from global warming, have huge effects on organelle genome evolution and function.

By using the plant genus Oenothera (the evening primrose), a model organism for organelle genetics and population structure, we are investigating the genetic and physiological consequences of local adaptation of organelles to diverse habitats. Among others, we study chloroplast loci involved in adaption to arid areas and transfer our finding to crop species like barley. In addition, we are interested in organelle retrograde signaling in plant development and the role of the mating system for the evolution of pathogen defense in sexual and asexual evening primroses. With the aim to develop novel breeding approaches, we are further using asexual evening primroses to elucidate their inheritance mechanism that comprises stabilization of heterosis and suppression of homologous recombination in meiosis.

 
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