Katrina Alcorn joined the lab in 2007 following a Botany degree at the University of Melbourne, Australia. She is currently looking at the evolution of the MIXTA gene, which produces the petal epidermal conical cells found in about 80% of flowering plants. The trait is thought to have been acquired early in the evolution of flowers, and since mosses split from the flowering plants around 400 million years ago (and, of course, before flowers were invented) Katrina is comparing genes from today's flowering plants to the most similar MYB genes in Physcomitrella to see what they might have been doing before they were recruited to control petal cell shape. On a smaller and more recent scale, she is also investigating the cause and mechanism of the repeated loss of conical cells within a single genus, Solanum, using molecular techniques to find the differences in the genes themselves as well as experimenting using bees to see how pollinator preferences might drive these losses.
- Email: Katrina.Alcorn@plantsci.cam.ac.uk
- Tel: 01223 (3)33934