Recognizing Plant Physiology first authors: Amit Kumar

Amit Kumar, co-first author of PcG proteins MSI1 and BMI1 function upstream of miR156 to regulate aerial tuber formation in potato

Current position: Ph.D. graduate student, Molecular Plant Biology Lab, Biology Division, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER)- Pune, Maharashtra, India

Non-scientific Interests: travelling, gardening, playing cricket

Brief bio: I completed my M.Sc. in Botany from Lachoo Memorial College of Science and Technology, Jodhpur, affiliated to Jai Narain Vyas University, Jodhpur, India. During this period, I got interested in the epigenetic mechanisms governing plant development. To further pursue my research interest, I joined Prof. Anjan K. Banerjee’s lab at IISER-Pune. Presently, I am investigating the role of Polycomb Group Proteins (PcG) in potato development. We used a diverse set of molecular approaches combined with next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics analysis to understand the stolon-to-tuber transition mechanisms in potato. We were thrilled to notice that manipulation in the expression levels of PcG members, StMSI1 and StBMI1, affect tuber yield and lead to the development of aerial tubers under inductive short-day conditions. Potato is a worldwide used crop and holds strong promise to ensure food security. I hope that our efforts would help the plant science community as well as people associated with potato production.