Event date:
Oct 13 2021 2:00 pm

RNA Silencing, Disease Resistance and Non-Mendelian Inheritance

Sir David Baulcombe
RNA silencing was discovered by accident as a virus defense mechanism, but our current understanding is that it is a family of related mechanisms affecting transposons and gene expression. In this talk I will describe how, in defense, RNA silencing is relevant as more than protection against viruses – it influences resistance against cellular as well as viral pathogens and it operates as part of a network of mechanisms in which the different layers of the plants innate immune system are connected and integrated. I will also describe how RNA silencing can influence non-Mendelian inheritance patterns of gene expression in the progeny of crosses between genetically distinct parents.

Sir David Baulcombe will be talking about “RNA Silencing, Disease Resistance and Non-Mendelian Inheritance” in the next Molecular and Cellular Biology Colloquium. The session will take place on Wednesday 13th October 2021 at 2pm PKST via SBASSE Facebook page.

Sir David Baulcombe is a Professor of Plant Science in Cambridge University, UK. His laboratory discovered mechanism of RNA interference which was initially considered as virus defense pathway in living organisms. However, this evolutionary conserved pathway turned out to be much more than just viral defense strategy and his laboratory and many others demonstrated that it controls transposons as well as organization of transposons and play a key role in development of organisms.


About the Speaker:

Since 1973, when I started my research career, I have thought that one of the major challenges in biology is understanding of gene regulation in plants and animals. Genes are switched on and off during development and in response to the environment so that biology at molecular, organismal and population levels would be informed by knowledge about gene regulation. It has been the underlying theme throughout my research career. I work on plants but the general concepts and many of the mechanisms are common to all parts of the tree of life and my work has had impact in diverse areas including agriculture and biomedicine.

To begin with I focused on individual genes but advanced technology and computing now allows analysis of complex gene networks.  This embracing of complexity means that molecular biology has moved beyond the phase of ‘stamp collecting’: the naming of parts in a cell. We can now begin to address the question of emergent properties in which cells and organisms are more than the simple sum of their parts so that molecular biology is truly ‘biology’. My group has become interested in epigenetics – the science of how nurture influences nature - and how environmental effects can be transmitted from one generation to the next.

Over the years I have worked in Cambridge and Norwich in the UK and am the fortunate recipient of awards including the Lasker Award for Basic Biomedical Science, the Wolf Prize for Agriculture and the Royal Medal of the Royal Society. I am an FRS and International Member of the US Academy of Science.

Please find the complete list and details of the talks here