The University of Iowa
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
The Department of Biology

Faculty Information

Chi-Lien Cheng

Chi-Lien Cheng

Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Connecticut 1982
210 BB
(319) 335-2583
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Alternation of generations in land plants; Vegetative phase change in maize

All land plants progress through a life cycle that alternates between two multicellular generations, the haploid gametophyte and the diploid sporophyte. In ferns, seedless vascular plants of the Monilophyte clade, both generations are free living. In addition to the normal life cycle using meiosis to generate spores and sexual union to form zygotes, in nature many fern species can switch from one generation to another asexually. In the asexual pathways, a gametophyte is generated from sporophytic cells without meiosis and a sporophyte is generated from gametophytic cells without fertilization, respectively. The model fern Ceratopteris richardii does not reproduce asexually in nature but both pathways can be induced in the laboratory using specific culture conditions. The independence of the two generations in ferns and the ease of switching from one generation to the other through the asexual pathways offer a system suitable for studying how each generation is initiated. This developmental plasticity of crossing generation barriers, i.e., meiosis and fertilization, is not unique to ferns and is manifested in the complex pathways leading to apomixis in some seed plants. My lab has identified genes potentially important in the asexual pathways in C. richardii. We are interested in learning how the functions of these genes are evolved between the fern and the seed plant Arabidopsis.

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Figure 1

Selected Publications

Cordle, A.R., Bui, L.T., Irish, E.E., and Cheng, C.-L. (2011). Laboratory-inducd apogamy and apospory in Ceratopteris rihardii. in Working with Ferns, eds H. Fernandes, A Kumar, and M.A. Revilla. Springer.

Cordle, A.R., Irish, E.E., and Cheng, C.-L. (2007). Apogamy induction in Ceratopteris richardii. Int. J. Plant Sci 168: 361-369.

Escamilla, L.L.E., Chen, W. Card, M.L., Shih, M.-S., Cheng , C.L., and Poulton, J.E. (2006). Arabidopsis thaliana β-glucosidases BGLU45 and BGLU46 hydrolyse monolignol glucosides. Phytochemistry 67: 1651-1660.

Xu, Z., Escamilla, L.L.E., Zheng L., Lalgondar, M., Bevan, D.R., Mohamed, A., Cheng, C.-L., Shih, M.-C., Poulton, J.E., and Esen, A. (2004) Functional genomic analysis of Arabidopsis thaliana glycoside hydrolase family 1. Plant Mol. Biol.55: 343-367.

Cao, D., Froehlich, J.E., Zhang, H., and Cheng, C.-L. (2003) A photomorphogenesis defective mutant cr88 encodes a chloroplast Hsp90. Plant J 33: 107-118.

Stanislaus M.A. and Cheng, C.-L. (2002) Genetically engineered self-destruction: an alternative to herbicides for cover crop systems. Weed Sci. 50: 794-801.

Cao, D., Lin, Y., and Cheng, C.-L. (2000) Genetic interactions between chlorate resistant mutant cr88 and photomorphogenic mutants cop1 and hy5. Plant Cell 12: 199-210.