prof.dr. MGM (Mark) Aarts

prof.dr. MGM (Mark) Aarts

Professor

The research interests of my group concern the evolution of plant adaptation to the abiotic environment. For much of this work we use Arabidopsis thaliana, the long-term plant model species.

We investigate the natural variation for abiotic stress tolerance and response of Arabidopsis with molecular and quantitative genetic tools such as CRISPR-Cas9 or RNAi, through stable and transient transformations, or through QTL and genome-wide association analysis, making use of genetically segregating populations created in the lab or obtained from international collaborators or stock centres. I am especially interested in understanding the (variation for) regulation of zinc homeostasis in plants.

An extreme case of aberrant regulation of zinc homeostasis is found in Noccaea caerulescens, a Zn/Cd/Ni hyperaccumulating relative of Arabidopsis, for which we determined the whole genome sequence. Evolution of  metal hyperaccumulation in N. caerulescens is studied using population genomics and quantitative genetics, supplemented with mutant screens and gene function analysis molecular genetics.