Development of New Genetic Techniques for Studying Photosynthesis in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

Mingen (Jason) Liu : Plant and Microbial Biology

Mentor: Professor Krishna Niyogi, Plant and Microbial Biology

In his project, Jason intends to examine the possibility of site-targeting or HR in the PSY gene of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii – a unicellular alga and a model organism for studying photosynthesis. He will generate mutant populations through transformations with a plasmid containing a defective copy of the PSY gene and will then screen for successful gene-disruption by selecting for a white phenotype and antibiotic resistance. Further experiments will examine the locus of recombination, enabling design of new plasmids to target mutagenesis of other genes for an efficient and cost-effective method of identifying new genes involved in photosynthesis. Successful targeting of the PSY gene as a test case can lead to development of a new screening strategy for Chlamydomonas – a major advance that creates new possibilities for genetics research on photosynthesis.