Project title: The correlation between photosynthesis and hybrid vigour
Supervisors: Anthony Larkum, Robert Furbank (CSIRO), Elisabeth Dennis (CSIRO), James Peacock (CSIRO)
PhD conferred: 2017
Hybrid is the accession obtained by cross-fertilization between strains or species of plants or animals. The phenomenon of hybrids exceeding their parents in growth, survival and fitness is termed hybrid vigour. One of the most significant characteristics of hybrid vigour is increased vegetative growth, usually defined as biomass. Recent transcriptone and metabolome studies in Arabidopsis thaliana hybrids suggested that photosynthesis might play an important role in establishment of early hybrid vigour and contribute to maintaining the vigour throughout the plant's development. However, little is known about these hybrid photosynthetic characteristics and the contribution to biomass vigour is still unclear.
The aim of this project is to first characterize the photosynthetic properties of A. thaliana hybrids and parents in the abundance of photosynthetic apparatus (chloroplast, chlorophyll) and the efficiency of the photosynthesis pathway. Hybrids deficient in photosynthesis will also be characterized to see the contribution of photosynthesis in hybrid vigour, especially the vigour in vegetative biomass. The result will provide a better understanding of the contribution of photosynthesis to biomass vigour, if abolishing photosynthesis leads to the lost of hybrid vigour or, if there are other factors involved in regulating biomass accumulation in hybrids.