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과수 및 환경생리학 연구실

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Crop plants are frequently exposed to environmental stresses including chilling and drought. Environmental stresses often cause photoinhibition which occurs whenever light is absorbed in excess of the capacity of chloroplast to utilize the absorbed photon energy for electron transport and CO2 fixation. Our current research emphasis is in the physiological and biochemical understanding of how plants protect themselves against excess light.

The protection systems from photoinhibition include the dissipation of excess photon energy through carotenoids and xanthophyll cycle and the detoxification of active oxygen species by antioxidants and antioxidative enzymes. Our research strategy involves molecular, biochemical, and whole plant studies. Our research is supported by Agricultural Plant Stress Research Center funded by Korea Science and Engineering Foundation.

Porphyrin biosynthesis pathway leads to the formation of heme and chlorophyll in higher plants. The porphyrin biosynthesis can be manipulated chemically to cause accumulation of photodynamic intermediates for herbicidal activity. Chemicals used for this purpose are δ-aminolevulinic acid, protoporphyrinogen oxidase inhibitors, and various chelators. By the absorption of light energy, the photodynamic intermediates can convert molecular oxygen to active oxygen species which cause membrane lipid peroxidation, cellular leakage, inhibition of photosynthesis, and ultimately cellular death. We are currently investigating the effective way of manipulating the porphyrin biosynthesis pathway. We also have research interest on physiological responses of plants upon the manipulation of the pathway.

Our research will provide new information about porphyrin biosynthesis pathway and its manipulation and a practical potential to alleviate or exacerbate oxidative stress to plants. Our research is supported by Agricultural Plant Stress Research Center funded by Korea Science and Engineering Foundation.

Genetic study and breeding of fruit trees have been suffered with difficulties from large number of chromosome, long juvenility, high level of heterozygosity, limited crosses due to self- and cross-incompatibility, and high demand of space, time, labor, and cost for population establishment and management. Recent development of various molecular marker techniques based on polymerase chain reaction has revolutionized genetic breeding in perennial horticultural crops including fruit trees.

Our current research emphasis is in the construction of genetic map and the development of molecular markers which allow to increase an efficiency of identification of genetic markers linked to important traits and to analyze genotype of large progenies for several loci. Our research will provide powerful tools to detect genes for valuable agricultural traits and to select promising seedlings with these traits at a very early developmental stage during breeding program. Our research is supported by BioGreen 21 Project funded by Korea Rural Development Administration.