This collaborative and interdisciplinary project is focused on understanding the biosynthetic pathways and genetic networks responsible for the accumulation of surface lipids on aerial portions of land plants. These surface lipids provide a hydrophobic layer that is a primary line of defense against numerous biological and environmental stresses. We are using the surface lipid metabolome on the silks of maize as the model to study how the organism adapts and protects plant surfaces from abiotic and biotic stresses, which has downstream applications in applied breeding of crops for customized lipid compositions that protect against many stresses.
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