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Santiago Pérez Ospina

Undergraduate student

CURRENT PROJECT

I am working on the genetic mechanisms that can be used for convergent evolution in fleshy fruits in Cestrum (Solanaceae) independently evolving berries from all Solanoideae. I am interested in the function of FUL-like genes upstream in the fruit genetic network in Cestrum nocturnum. I am currently optimizing the growth and flowering of these plants without any pests. Next I will be trying Virus Induced Gene Silencing (VIGS) in Cestrum. Wish me luck!

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Luis Fernando Canchila

Undergraduate student

CURRENT PROJECT

The main objective of my research is to identify the MADS-box genes of classes A, B, C and E in the floral transcriptome of Dalea cuatrecasasii, and analyze their evolution including the homologues of other legume species, particularly the model species present. in this lineage, like beans, peas and lentils. This approach will provide a more complete understanding of the functional evolution of these genes in the context of flower formation in D. cuatrecasasii and other legumes. In addition, the specific exploration in Dalea cuatrecasasii will allow us to identify the affinity of the MADS-box genes in a holoparasitism system with Pilostyles boyacensis. Phylogenetic assignment will allow us to assign the identity of genes that belong to the host plant and are used exclusively by it, as well as genes that are potentially shared in the system with the parasitic plant.

Diana Marcela Valencia

Undergraduate student

CURRENT PROJECT

I studied colouration patterns in the flower of Epidendrum fimbriatum (Orchidaceae). These flowers are rich in anthocyanins and UV absorbing flavonoids. The project aimed to uncover the morphological basis of anthocyanin aleatory accumulation (AAA) and the evolution of candidate genes linked to anthocyanin synthesis promotion (SG6 R2R3-MYB, bHLH, WD40) and repression (SG4 R2R3-MYB) in the flower of E. fimbriatum. The study also revealed a complex pigmentation dynamic in this orchid, highlighting genetic and structural determinants of floral colouration. In this project I identified a deviation in the flavonoid pathway that adds a novel dimension to orchid color evolution.

Note: Diana is a student tutored by Harold Suarez Barón in Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Cali. 

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Laura Puerta

Undergraduate student

CURRENT PROJECT

I am interested in assessing the evolution of genes that can repress anthocyanin synthesis and accumulation in Aristolochia flowers. For my undergraduate dissertation I have been cloning R2R3 MYB genes from subgroup 4 which are suppposed to function as major repressors for anthocyanin synthesis. In this case I am using all available Aristolochiaceae transcriptomes, as well as Aristolochia fimbriata living collections. So far my results indicate that MYB4-like genes may downregulate anthocyanin accumulation in the sepaloid perianth of Aristolochia.

Note: Laura is a student tutored by Jorge Mercado in Universidad de Sucre.

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