Control of plant meiosis using virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS)

Vanesa Calvo-Baltanás

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


The precise manipulation of plant meiosis at will is one of the most valuable tools for plant breeding, as it allows to ultimately control genetic diversity generated in a population. In this thesis we have used a transient silencing approach, virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) to modify meiosis in the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana. We have optimized this technique to virtually target any gene in meiosis to induce diverse meiotic phenotypes and to generate offspring with a desired genetic make-up. Using VIGS, we were able to both, downregulate and upregulate meiotic recombination and modify the number of meiotic divisions to induce diploid gamete production. Furthermore, we have shown that VIGS can be used to develop breeding applications such as efficient reverse breeding and controlled generation of polyploids. The results obtained in this thesis illustrate that the use of VIGS can significantly speed up the production of valuable lines for breeding, compared to other techniques available used to modify gene expression or gene structure.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • de Jong, Hans, Promotor
  • Zwaan, Bas, Promotor
  • Wijnker, Erik, Co-promotor
  • Schnittger, A., Co-promotor, External person
Award date15 Feb 2019
Place of PublicationWageningen
Print ISBNs9789463435673
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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