Amal J. Johnston

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The embryo sac contains the haploid maternal cell types necessary for double fertilization and subsequent seed development in plants. Large-scale identification of genes expressed in the embryo sac remains cumbersome because of its inherent microscopic and inaccessible nature. We used genetic subtraction and comparative profiling by microarray between the(More)
Unlike animals that produce gametes upon differentiation of meiotic products, plants develop haploid male and female gametophytes that differentiate gametes such as sperm, egg and central cells, and accessory cells [1, 2]. Both gametophytes participate in double fertilization and give rise to the next sporophytic generation. Little is known about the(More)
The introduction of apomixis - seed formation without fertilization - into crop plants is a long-held goal of breeding research, since it would allow for the ready fixation of heterozygosity. The genetic basis of apomixis, whether of the aposporous or the diplosporous type, is still only poorly understood. Hypericum perforatum (St John's wort), a plant with(More)
The plant life cycle alternates between two distinct multi-cellular generations, the reduced gametophytes and the dominant sporophyte. Little is known about how generation-specific cell fate, differentiation, and development are controlled by the core regulators of the cell cycle. In Arabidopsis, RETINOBLASTOMA RELATED (RBR), an evolutionarily ancient cell(More)
In contrast to animals, the life cycle of higher plants alternates between a gamete-producing (gametophyte) and a spore-producing (sporophyte) generation. The female gametophyte of angiosperms consists of four distinct cell types, including two gametes, the egg and the central cell, which give rise to embryo and endosperm, respectively. Based on a combined(More)
Embryogenesis is a critical stage during the plant life cycle in which a unicellular zygote develops into a multicellular organism. Co-ordinated gene expression is thus necessary for proper embryo development. Polycomb and Trithorax group genes are members of evolutionarily conserved machinery that maintains the correct expression patterns of key(More)
The Retinoblastoma (pRb) pathway has been implicated as a convergent regulatory unit in the control of cell cycle and disease. We have shown that a crosstalk between RETINOBLASTOMA RELATED (RBR), the Arabidopsis homologue of pRb, and the genes encoding proteins of the chromatin complexes involved in DNA or histone methylation, controls gametophytic and(More)
In plants, gametes, along with accessory cells, are formed by the haploid gametophytes through a series of mitotic divisions, cell specification and differentiation events. How the cells in the female gametophyte of flowering plants differentiate into gametes (the egg and central cell) and accessory cells remains largely unknown. In a screen for mutations(More)
Molecular dissection of apomixis - an asexual reproductive mode - is anticipated to solve the enigma of loss of meiotic sex, and to help fixing elite agronomic traits. The Brassicaceae genus Boechera comprises of both sexual and apomictic species, permitting comparative analyses of meiotic circumvention (apomeiosis) and parthenogenesis. Whereas previous(More)
Inter-provenance hybrids of Pinuscaribaea var. hondurensis wereprogeny tested in Queensland, Australia inorder to assess the feasibility ofincorporating some desirable traits intothe local breeding population, consistinglargely of a single upland provenanceMountain Pine Ridge (MPR). Data onphenotypic traits up to seven years fromplanting revealed that an(More)