Grace Yu
Grace Yu
Faculty Advisor: Jeff Doyle
Year: 2011

The Investigation of the SWI/DYAD gene in Glycine

Polyploids are organisms with more than two sets of chromosomes due to whole genome duplications. Whole genome duplications usually occur through the formation of unreduced gametes. The DYAD mutant has been found to induce the development of undreduced gametes in Arabidopsis. During the summer of 2011, I worked in the Doyle lab with plants in the genus Glycine. I explored the expression and gene retention of a candidate gene found to be responsible for sister chromatin cohesion and centromere organization in Arabidopsis during meiosis. This project is part of a bigger project to find a gene in soybeans that could be mutated so that synthetic polyploids can be made in a laboratory via unreduced gamete formation. In the process of investigating the gene retention of the gene copies in Glycine, PCRs were repeated until the process became ingrained in one’s mind and expression explorations were undertaken through the use of RNA extraction and rt-PCR processes.

My Experience

Coming into a lab far away from home, was quite an experience. The lab gave me a very warm welcome and made this quite an experience to remember. My mentor, Sue Sherman-Broyles of the Doyle lab, really helped me understand what I was working on and made sure that I knew what I was doing and why. If I ever had any questions, she’d patiently go over the topic with me until I had absorbed the information. It was scary at first not knowing what I was getting into, but after a while, I was comfortable with it. This experience overall helped me decide that I do, indeed, want to go to grad school. This internship allowed me to further investigate my interest in plant biology, which I’m now considering as my concentration for my biological science degree. The biggest part of this internship I will take away with me is the opportunity to work hands-on in a laboratory and to learn to be independent in the lab, as well as not being afraid to step out of my comfort zone to take hold of the opportunities life presents you, no matter how impossible it may be.