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Transposable elements (TEs) are DNA fragments that have the ability to “jump” from one site to another in the genome; as such they are also called "jumping genes". Transposable elements are the single largest component of most eukaryote genomes. Rice and wheat offer ideal systems to study epigenetic regulation of TEs and to investigate the evolution of TEs following allopolyploidization. Almost 40% of the rice genome and ~90% of the wheat genome are derived from TEs. Most elements contain inactivating mutations, whereas others are reversibly silenced by epigenetic mechanisms. The presence of TE sequences in EST and cDNA databases indicates that those elements escaped silencing and are expressed. The transcriptional activation of TEs might impact the expression of adjacent host genes. The underlying mechanism(s) whereby TEs alter expression of adjacent genes through readout transcription and the potential significant biological role of transcriptional interference between retro-elements and cellular genes are poorly understood.

Current Projects

1. Transposon dynamics in wheat.
2. Underlying mechanisms of TEs rearrangements in newly formed wheat polyploids.
3. Epigenetic variation in wild emmer wheat.
4. Salinity and drought resistance in wheat .


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