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Plant Meiosis--Global approaches

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Meiosis has been a centrally important research topic for the understanding of the process of reproduction since its discovery in the late 19th century. During most of the 20th century, plant meiosis research was mainly focused on cytogenetics. Starting in the late 1990s, with the availability of genetic ...

Meiosis has been a centrally important research topic for the understanding of the process of reproduction since its discovery in the late 19th century. During most of the 20th century, plant meiosis research was mainly focused on cytogenetics. Starting in the late 1990s, with the availability of genetic resources such as genome sequencing and mutant collections of Arabidopsis, the rate of research on plant meiosis has greatly accelerated. In the past 15 years, researchers have characterized approximately 70 meiotic genes using the Arabidopsis system alone.

In the past 5 years, with newer technologies such as high-throughput RNA-seq, ChIP-sq, as well as the availability of computational software, researchers have begun to work on developing a global understanding of plant meiosis. A number of specific methods developed recently have contributed to the rapid growth of plant meiosis studies. For example, the development of meiotic cell enrichment, micro-dissection, and fluorescence-labeled visualization systems have made it possible to evaluate the landscapes of recombination, DNA methylation, small RNAs, as well as histone modification. In addition, meiosis research is not limited to only a few model species such as maize and Arabidopsis, but has also spread to many other plant species, including rice, cotton, and Brassica.

Collaborative research has contributed greatly to understanding the mechanisms of meiosis: These include the European Union’s MEIOSYS project with a total of ~€5 million funds(http://ec.europa.eu/research/bioeconomy/agriculture/projects/meiosys_en.htm), a US NSF-funded project with $4 million for mapping maize recombination events, and in China, an NSCF-funded 'mega-project' to study meiosis of crop species. Such collaborations among multiple institutions and multiple nations have contributed and will continue to contribute to the understanding of plant meiosis and to train next generation of meiosis researchers.

In this topic, we welcome the community of meiosis researchers to address the progress, methods, hypotheses, theories, and discoveries across all perspectives of plant meiosis research in recent years, with a focus on, but not limited to the global approaches. This includes: 1. Advanced understanding of Arabidopsis meiosis, including method development, meiotic gene identification, mutant creation, small RNA, and epigenome profiles. 2. Progress on understanding plant meiosis through the species other than Arabidopsis, including maize, rice, sunflower, cotton, wheat, oat, etc. 4. In depth understanding of molecular mechanisms of plant meiosis. The topic will include recent developments such as meiotic gene expression landscape (transcriptome), epigenome (DNA and histone modifications), smallRNAs, recombination event distributions, etc., and should shape the further research in plant meiosis.


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