University of Memphis granted $2.2 million to study sunflowers

The University of Memphis will use the grant to study the Sunflowers capitulum.
The University of Memphis will use the grant to study the Sunflowers capitulum.(University of Memphis)
Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 5:05 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The University of Memphis was granted $2.2 million from the National Science Foundation Division of Integrative Organismal Systems to study sunflowers.

UofM’s Dr. Jennifer Mandel, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, will study the genomics of inflorescence development and evolution in the sunflower family.

The grant money will be used to purchase the latest genomic technologies to help discover the genes that control how the sunflower head inflorescence, or capitulum, develops and evolves.

Jennifer Mandal stated what the University would use the money for, “You see, the sunflower ‘flower’ is actually a group of flowers that resemble a single flower, and all members of the family have this trait. Our project will generate new genomic resources and tools that will be important for studying the evolution of the capitulum, plus aid future efforts to alter and improve inflorescence structures in crops, both in the sunflower family and others.”

Mandel also says that the money will help sunflowers and crops because so little is known about the genes in capitulum development, and understanding how inflorescences develop could help with food security with crops.

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