Recognizing Plant Direct first authors: Young Cho

Young Cho, first author of Non-allelic homologous recombination events responsible for copy number variation within an RNA silencing locus

Current Position:  Post-doctoral Research Associate, Ort Lab, University of Illinois

Education:  PhD, Crop Sciences, University of Illinois

Non-scientific Interests:  Wife, family, friends, and Lionel Messi

Brief bio: It was hard but worth it. A repetitive region in the genome is a hard subject to study. I complained to my Ph.D. advisor when I could not locate the I locus region, studied in this paper (Cho et al. 2019), in the soybean reference genome due to the repeats. But, it was worth it to explore as this paper shows the repetitive region drives dynamics of genome rearrangement via non-allelic homologous recombination and, at the same time, changes soybean seed coat color by generating sRNA.

My current interests are in how sRNA is expressed and regulated in plants in tissue-, developmental stage- and pattern-specific manners so that it can be used more precisely as a tool to change plant traits. I am currently evaluating sRNA as a delicate gene regulation tool for optimizing photosynthetic efficiency of plants in Dr. Don Ort’s lab. I believe a precise gene regulation tool is required to improve yield and to produce more valuable crops.