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Hutton image wins top prize at competition

Tinsel Chromosomes in Barley (c) James Hutton Institute
"Plant cytology is very challenging and for many decades scientist used disruptive techniques to visualise chromosome movement during meiosis but nowadays advance in specimen preparation and microscopy allow scientist to go even deeper and revisit old dogmas.

An image taken by Dr Isabelle Colas, plant molecular geneticist at the Cell and Molecular Sciences Group of the James Hutton Institute in Dundee, has snapped one of the top prizes at a competition organised by the University of Dundee to mark the opening of a new £8m imaging facility.

The image, titled ‘Tinsel Chromosomes in Barley’, shows how chromosomes pair and synapse to allow for gene recombination and was taken with the 3D-SIM microscope OMX imaging system.

Plant cytology is very challenging and for many decades researchers used disruptive techniques to visualise chromosome movement during meiosis but nowadays advances in specimen preparation and microscopy have allowed scientists to go even deeper and revisit old dogmas.

“This structure is very close to the so called ‘lampbrush’ chromosomes discovered in female mammalian cells during gametogenesis and many claim that such structure did not exist in plant despite few studies claiming otherwise.

“The structure is however different from the lampbrush so we named them ‘tinsel’ chromosomes and are likely to be an essential feature of chromosome organization in large genome species to facilitate segregation during sexual reproduction and keep the genome integrity,” Dr Colas explained.

‘Tinsel Chromosomes in Barley’ is now under display at the University of Dundee’s imaging facility, together with images from other winners of the competition: Sara Carvalhal (Best ImSol Image), Thomas Carroll (Best Zeiss Image), Calum Forteath (Best Nikon Image), Fraser Milne (Best Facility Image) and Andrew Lim (Best Public Engagement Image). The competition was originally open to university staff only, but Dr Colas was allowed to take part because of the quality of imaging work at the James Hutton Institute.

Dr Colas’ current research interests include genetic recombination in cereals, a key process for plant breeding, and the mechanisms through which chromosomes pair, connect and recombine as these are fundamental to create tools to improve cereal breeding. She is also interested in chromatin organization during meiosis which is essential to understand the link between chromosomes synapsis and recombination to understand the fine tuning of the recombination process.

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Printed from /news/hutton-image-wins-top-prize-competition on 25/05/19 09:59:04 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.