Honors Program


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Qudus, S., Mower, J. 2022. Targeting Transgenic Proteins to the Mitochondria in Plants. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Susan Qudus, Jeffrey Mower 2022.


Cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) in plants can convert an individual into female through sterilization of the male reproductive parts, creating an inability to produce functional pollen. In nature, this is advantageous for genetic diversity and producing progeny with unique genes that may be beneficial in evolution. For agriculture, this method is preferential for selection of desirable traits in crops when cross breeding. CMS is typically caused by genes in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), such as novel open reading frames (ORFs) that form after imperfect repair of double-stranded breaks in the mtDNA. Specific CMS genes vary among various plant species. It is currently unclear if the CMS gene of one species is effective in inducing sterility to another. These genes are easily predictable from the gene sequence but are rarely experimentally tested to determine their effect to cause male sterility. In this paper, I worked to characterize four different CMS genes identified from Brassica. Using a mitochondrial targeting system, I assessed the ability to transgenically target one of these genes to the mitochondria. For future considerations if these genes can be targeted to the mitochondria, the analysis into the ability to cause CMS can be studied by transgenic expression in Arabidopsis.