Shoot branches develop from buds that are formed in the axil of leaves. The buds either grow into branches or become dormant depending on internal and environmental factors that affect their growth. The dormancy and outgrowth fates of buds, thus shoot branching, determine resource use efficiency and yield of crops. In addition, the dormancy and outgrowth of axillary buds influence many other aspects of crop production, for example, forage and pasture crop production and post-harvest potato sprouting and shelf life. My research focuses on understanding the physiological, genetic, and molecular mechanisms regulating dormancy and outgrowth of axillary buds and developing agronomic and breeding strategies to improve crop production. In our previous studies, we identified several physiological and developmental factors that control buds through partially distinct molecular mechanisms. We hypothesize that those partially distinct molecular mechanisms may converge on activating a few key genes that directly control the growth of buds. In this seminar, I will present our research findings and recent progress in identifying these key genes.
Dr. Tesfamichael Kebrom is a research scientist with a joint appointment at the Center for Computational Systems Biology (College of Engineering) and the Cooperative Agricultural Research Center (College of Agriculture and Human Sciences) at Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU). He received B.Sc. in Plant Sciences from the University of Asmara in Eritrea, M.Phil. (Master of Philosophy) in Crop Physiology from the University of Reading in England, and Ph.D. in Molecular & Environmental Plant Sciences from Texas A&M University. His research focuses on identifying the molecular and physiological basis of shoot elongation and branching in crop plants.