Gabriella Gomez
Gabriella Gomez
Year: 2012
Faculty Advisor: Georg Jander

Deciphering the genetic architecture of aphid-induced callose deposition in Zea mays L.

Previous experiments showed that corn leaf aphids (Rhopalosiphum maidis Fitch) feeding on maize (Zea mays L.) inbred line CML322 produce significantly more offspring than aphids feeding on inbred line B73. A quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis done on a B73 x CML322 recombinant inbred population highlighted a locus on maize chromosome 1 that explains the majority of the demonstrated variance. Callose deposition, a plant defense against aphids, may account for this difference in aphid growth. We preformed further experiments with B73 and CML322 and saw that less offspring were produced on B73, which also had significantly greater callose deposition, as opposed to CML322 which showed more offspring production and less callose formation. This demonstrated the hypothesized negative correlation between callose deposition and reproductive fitness of the aphids (more babies). Analysis of B73 x CML322 recombinant inbred lines is being conducted to determine whether aphid reproduction and callose formation QTL co-localize. This will enable us to decipher better the genetic architecture of callose formation in maize.

My Experience

As a high school student, the BTI research internship gave me an amazing opportunity to experience a professional scientific setting. I greatly expanded my knowledge of modern biology, not only through working in the lab but also through the many seminars that were given by the other labs in the building. This internship has only increased my interest in the sciences, and definitely has impacted my decision on a course of studies for college. I’m truly happy to have been a part of such a great program.