Amit Kumar, co-first author of “Development of aerial and belowground tubers in potato is governed by photoperiod and epigenetic mechanism”
Postdoc fellow in Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands
PhD from Biology Department, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Pune
BS and MS (Botany) from Lachoo Memorial College, Jai Narain Vyas University Jodhpur, India
Travelling, walking, watching wildlife movies, playing cricket
I was born and brought up in a village situated at drought hit Bundelkhand region of central India. I frequently came across plants surviving on scarce rainfall in my native place. For my higher studies, I moved to western part of India, where I observed plants thriving in extreme hot and arid conditions of Thar deserts in Rajasthan. On the otherhand, I noticed diverse flora growing in western ghats of southwestern India. This diversity among plants across different climatic conditions enamored me to study the underlying molecular mechanisms enabling plants to adapt and survive in varied habitat. During my Ph.D. at IISER Pune under the supervision of Prof. Anjan K. Banerjee, I focused on understanding the epigenetic mechanisms that govern the spatio-temporal regulation of gene expression in response to environmental stimulus. Using photoperiod responsive subspecies of potato, we identified that key tuberization genes are regulated by histone modificatiers under long-day and short-day photoperiodic conditions. Going further, we also established that ectopic expression or knockdown of selective genes affects the potato yield and led to aboveground aerial tuber formation. We believe that our study will be helpful to increase the potato yield as well as broadens our understanding about regulation of plant phenotypic plasticity.