Light as an energy source is essential for plants to synthesize their food from water and carbon dioxide through photosynthesis. Therefore, plants continuously monitor light intensity, direction, and quality to adjust their growth and development to the light conditions in their microenvironments. In particular, they are sensitive to shading by their neighbors because it could be determinantal to their survival. Plants can detect their proximity to neighbor plants in their surroundings before they are shaded, and activate growth and developmental responses known as the shade avoidance syndrome (SAS). The SAS includes shoot elongation, reduced branching, and early flowering, which are also important determinants of plant shoot architecture and yield of crops. Therefore, understanding how shade signals regulate shoot elongation and branching could help to improving crop production and productivity. In this seminar, I will present our research progress on how shade signals promote shoot elongation in sorghum.
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 molecular pathways and gene regulatory networks controlling shoot elongation and branching in response to environmental and developmental signals using plant systems biology methods.