"From basic genomics to systems biology"

Bridget Crampton of CSIR Biosciences recently attended an EMBO plant science conference in Ghent, Belgium entitled “From basic genomics to systems biology“.

The conference took place from 2 – 4 May 2007, and was dedicated to the memory of Jozef Schell, who was instrumental in the discovery of the Ti plasmid Agrobacterium tumefaciens, and that a segment of this plasmid, the T-DNA, is transferred to plant cells. This discovery formed the basis of plant transformation studies today.

The conference covered a broad range of topics including control of plant development; photosynthesis and chloroplast and mitochondrial function; plant-microbe and virus interactions; plant reproduction, genetic variation and comparative genomics; metabolism and metabolic signalling; and RNA processing, gene silencing and recombination.

The conference featured many talks by prominent plant scientists including Marc Van Montagu (The future of Plant Science), Dirk Inze (Endoreduplication: a matter of efficiency), Jeff Dangl (The Plant-Immune System), Barbara Hohn (Transgeneration memory of stress in plants), Dianna Bowles (The role of glycosylation in cellular homeostasis), Csaba Koncz (Signalling roles of plant AMP-activated protein kinases), Thomas Hohn (Plant viruses and siRNA) and David Baulcombe (Short silencing RNA networks).

Bridget Crampton presented a poster entitled “The salicyclic acid signalling pathway confers tolerance to a biotrophic rust pathogen in pearl millet” which was received well and attracted a number of questions.