The effects of altered expression of meristem genes in Brassica napus
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The meristem genes SHOOT MERISTEMLESS (STM), CLAVATA1 (CLV1) and ZWILLE (ZLL) are essential for the formation and maintenance of the shoot apical meristem (SAM). As an extension of that work, this thesis examines the function of these genes during seed oil accumulation and microspore-derived embryogenesis. Using a transgenic approach it is demonstrated that only the over-expression of BnSTM increases the percentage of total seed oil and a reduction of glucosinolate (GLS) levels achieved by transcriptional regualtion. The over-expression of BnSTM also affected in vitro embryogenesis by increasing the number and quality of microspore-derived embryos (MDEs) in contrast to the MDEs down-regulating BnSTM. The MDEs with ectopic expression of BnSTM were found to regulate embryonic SAM by altering cytokinin synthesis, catabolism, perception and signaling. Taken together, these findings provide evidence for a novel function of BnSTM in promoting desirable changes in seed oil and GLS levels and enhancing in vitro embryogenesis.