skip to content

Department of Plant Sciences



Supervisor: Dr James Locke (Sainsbury Lab)

Project outline:

Although sometimes a product of environmental fluctuations or measurement error, transcriptional noise is intrinsically generated in several organisms, including plants. Recent research in the Locke lab utilising RNA-seq has shown inter-individual variability between genetically identical Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings for a number of highly variable genes (HVGs). Furthermore, these experiments indicate temporal regulation, with some genes highly variable at one or more specific time points, and clear structural separation in HVG variability between day and night. This suggests a role for the circadian clock in variability. Components of the circadian clock (e.g. ELF3) have been implicated in generating inter-individual variability, but how this variability is generated - particularly at the level of individual cells and tissues - is unknown. To investigate this area, this project will employ a range of methods, including applied mathematics, fluorescence microscopy, transcriptomics, and computational modelling. Experiments will be performed using Arabidopsis, as much of current knowledge on plant transcriptional variability is based on research in this organism.