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Professor of Biological Science, FSU
Ph.D. Botany, 1992, North Carolina State University
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Associated Programs:
Cell and Molecular Biology
Molecular Biophysics

Integrating Genotype & Phenotype


We are investigating the structure and function of chromosomes and telomeres during meiosis, when chromosomes are recombined, shuffled, and reduced to the haploid state (during production of sperm or eggs). Genetics, molecular biology, and microscopy are used to examine plant telomeres and their role in meiotic nuclear architecture and chromosome segregation. High-resolution deconvolution microscopy is used to collect multi-wavelength three-dimensional optical reconstructions of whole nuclei in meiotic cells of higher plants. Specific DNA sequences are localized within the nucleus by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and the resulting spatial and quantitative image data are analyzed computationally. In addition to this molecular cytology research, we employ genetics, molecular biology, and cell biology to characterize the underlying molecules and mechanisms that collectively govern the process of meiosis and chromosome segregation.

Having adapted novel techniques for 3D FISH with plant meiotic chromosomes, we have been working on several related projects; the analysis of meiotic telomere behavior, the cytogenetic FISH mapping of the maize meiotic genome, and more recently, a new genome project on chromatin structure in maize.

The functional analysis of meiotic telomeres involves several projects. They focus on (1) identification and characterization of maize telomeric proteins, (2) characterization and cloning of meiotic mutants with meiotic telomere-misplacement phenotypes (3) QTL mapping of genetic factors that control variation in telomere length, and (4) analysis of the meiotic nuclear envelope and SUN domain proteins in i coordinating cytoplasm-nucleoplasm interactions that play a role in the telomere bouquet and post-bouquet chromosome behavior in meiotic prophase.

The Cytogenetic Map of Maize project employs an innovative technique based on transgenomic FISH mapping with maize marker-selected sorghum BAC probes on maize meiotic fibers that are visually isolated by chromosome painting in an oat genome background.

The Chromatin Structure and Genome Response in Maize project combines genome-wide microarray analysis with 3D microscopy using novel assays to characterize the nuclesomal and chromatin accessibility landscapes in the maize genome in response to genetic or experimental manipulations. This team project includes investigators from FSU (JH Dennis, JM McGinnis) and Florida A & M University (O Onokpise).

More information on the research projects can be found on the Research page.

3-D DeconvolutionĀ Images and Movies:
- Annotated DAPI images of meiotic prophase, (leptotene, zygotene, pachytene, diplotene, diakinesis)
- Telomere FISH at the bouquet stage of meiosis
- Whole chromosome painting analysis of meiotic chromosome pairing in Oat-Maize9
- 3D Images of desynaptic (dy, dsy1) mutants.
- TGMV geminvirus intranuclear localization.


The Laboratory of Dr. Hank W. Bass
Department of Biological Science
Florida State University