Andrea Jones
Andrea Jones headshot
Year: 2023
Faculty Advisor: Andrew Nelson
Mentor: Kyle Palos

Soybean Domestication: Determining Differentially Expressed Genes in Root Tissues Between Wild and Cultivated Species

Soybeans are a significant cash crop that are very actively studied in the agricultural industry. Glycine max has gained many desirable agronomic traits from artificial selection, with different alleles than what is seen in Glycine soja, the wild species that it is derived from. My goal is to discover the phenotypic differences in root architecture between wild and cultivated species of soybean. G. max exhibits more growth in the lateral roots when compared to G. soja at the same time points. The goal of this study is to see which transcription factors (which can control hundreds of genes themselves) are differentially expressed, which in turn affects hormones, receptors, and biological pathways. We used KEGG and gene ontology (GO) analysis to determine which pathways are the most enriched in our RNAseq dataset, as well as explain the underlying phenomena behind the different growth patterns of the root types between species. We see changes in differential expression, which affect several pathways resulting in changes to hormone levels, changing root architecture.

As a 3rd year undergraduate researcher at my home institution, I thought it would be interesting to see how the labs at BTI compared. Within the program, my mentor was a postdoc who had several ongoing projects: I got to learn new lab techniques not performed at my previous lab such as cloning, TDNA insertion, genotyping/phenotyping, and more. I was able to work with Arabidopsis for the first time and was able to see how useful it is for functional gene analysis. I was able to interact with a multitude of mentors and come to BTI everyday with something new to do, whether that be attending a seminar, learning to use UNIX, or doing wet lab work with my mentor. Participating in this internship gave me insight into my graduate school plans, as I was able to speak with researchers from many different backgrounds. I was even able to get authorship on an upcoming paper for my work. And I won’t forget about the time spent out of the lab! I was able to meander around the Ithaca area, many parts of NY, and I even visited Canada twice! Over the summer, I have experienced many new things, making memories and connections that I will look back upon dearly.