New genetic discovery could regulate plant growth
“A discovery like this one demonstrates that research done at Rutgers–Camden, and research done through this summer program, can have worldwide impact,” says Benedetto Piccoli, the Joseph and Loretta Lopez Chair in Mathematics at Rutgers–Camden and Ph.D. program director for Rutgers–Camden’s Center for Computational and Integrative Biology. “It shows that undergraduate research can have amazing results.”
Jno Baptiste, who is working as an assistant in Kotchoni’s lab, is continuing her research on the new gene this semester. She hopes the additional work unlocks new information about growth and biomass accumulation in plants.
“Scientists can devote several years to pinpointing the genes that contribute to growth in specific plants, but they can now apply the findings from our work, in which we used a model plant species, to various other plants,” Kotchoni says. “It will be interesting to study the GIGANTUS1 gene function in agronomically important crops with the aim of improving crop yield and biomass accumulation.”
The Rutgers–Camden Center for Computational and Integrative Biology combines the expertise of researchers from traditional biomedical disciplines — such as biology, chemistry and psychology — with the analytic methods employed by mathematicians, physicists and computer scientists to understand how individual biological systems work.
Rutgers–Camden’s Computational Biology Summer Program will continue in June with a new cohort of students. It is open to students enrolled in community colleges, non-traditional students, veterans, and students from communities underserved in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines. For information, visit ccib.camden.rutgers.edu/reu
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