Master project on the microevolution of endosperm development
Endosperm, the tissue nourishing the embryo in flowering plants, is crucial for seed development. Especially, endosperm differentiation is a key event in its normal development. While this developmental step has been shown to be impaired in hybrid seeds between different species, thus playing important role in speciation, nothing is known of its natural variation within one species. It is assumed that such variation is restricted due to a strong selective constraint of the timing between endosperm differentiation and embryo development. Nevertheless, our preliminary results in the outcrossing species Arabidopsis arenosa suggest that there is substantial natural variation for the timing of endosperm differentiation during seed development. Such trait has been shown to influence endosperm and overall seed size, which would have great consequences for evolution: as with natural variation, selection can act.
The aim of the project is to survey natural variation for endosperm development in different populations of A. arenosa and estimate whether such variation can be explained by the genetic divergence between such populations. It will involve microscopy techniques and population genomics approaches.
We are looking for a Master student with interests in plant development, reproduction and evolution to conduct this research. The project will take place in the Department of Botany of Charles University, Prague (Czech Republic), in Clément Lafon Placette’s team and in collaboration with Filip Kolář’s lab.
The project is available from now on, and the duration is flexible according to the master thesis format in the candidate’s university. A scholarship will be available for the duration of the internship.
If you are interested, please send an email explaining your motivations and your CV at email@example.com.