Non-Coding RNAs in Agrobacterium tumerfaciens

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Hernandez, Christopher
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Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression
Iowa State University Conferences and Symposia

The Symposium provides undergraduates from all academic disciplines with an opportunity to share their research with the university community and other guests through conference-style oral presentations. The Symposium represents part of a larger effort of Iowa State University to enhance, support, and celebrate undergraduate research activity.

Though coordinated by the University Honors Program, all undergraduate students are eligible and encouraged to participate in the Symposium. Undergraduates conducting research but not yet ready to present their work are encouraged to attend the Symposium to learn about the presentation process and students not currently involved in research are encouraged to attend the Symposium to learn about the broad range of undergraduate research activities that are taking place at ISU.

The first Symposium was held in April 2007. The 39 students who presented research and their mentors collectively represented all of ISU's Colleges: Agriculture and Life Sciences, Business, Design, Engineering, Human Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, and the Graduate College. The event has grown to regularly include more than 100 students presenting on topics that span the broad range of disciplines studied at ISU.


A. tumefaciens is a plant pathogen responsible for crown gall disease in infected plants and is unique in its ability to carry out inter-kingdom gene transformation. For this reason, A. tumefaciens has been extensively studied with regards to its transformation capabilities and is widely used as a tool for plant transformation. Recent work has identified hundreds of putative non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) that map to regions on the chromosomes of A. tumefaciens. ncRNAs, called non-coding because they are not believed to code for proteins, are thought to play important regulatory roles in organisms from every walk of life. Further studies of the roles of ncRNAs in A. tumefaciens have the potential to reveal conserved ncRNA regulatory mechanisms, increase knowledge regarding plant-pathogen interactions, and provide insight into ways to broaden Agrobacterium’s transformation capabilities in recalcitrant plant species.

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