Wednesday, March 18, 2015

C4 Rice Center interns win top prize at 2015 UST Pharmacy Research Expo

Gericho Soriano and Mau Tanaka won the top prize for their scientific poster at the recently held 2015 UST Pharmacy Research Expo. Mr. Soriano and Ms. Tanaka, both interns at the C4 Rice Center at the International Rice Research Institute, were cited for Cloning of two candidate genes related to Kranz anatomy from Zea Mayz CV B73 using Gateway cloning. Arnelyn Doloiras and Akshaya Kumar Biswal from the C4 Rice Center were co-authors on the poster and also served as their supervisors during their summer training.

C4 plants like corn (Zea mays) that exhibit Kranz (German word meaning wreath) anatomy in their leaves, show higher photosynthetic capacity, nitrogen utilization and water use efficiency than C3 plants like rice. It is therefore one of the important targets of C4 consortium to introduce this trait into rice by transferring necessary gene(s) from closely related C4 species. Though it is not clear which gene(s) are responsible for Kranz anatomy, several candidates have been predicted.  To supplement our effort of evaluating about 100 candidate genes, this study involved cloning two of the candidate genes from maize leaf primordia. The transgenic plants overexpressing one of the two genes are currently being evaluated at C4 Rice Center.

“Both students were highly enthusiastic and hard working," said Dr. Biswal. "The cutting edge molecular biology facility at C4 Rice Center helped them to quickly acquire the skills and consequently, led to the success in cloning the genes in a short period. This recognition will motivate them for a career in rice research and success in life."

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