Firstly, it looks as though I have finally hit upon one of those elusive 'significant' results. One of my Arabidopsis mutants appears to be more resistant to the parasitic weed Striga gesnerioides. I won't say more here, in case this eventually leads to something publishable, but it could indicate which plant defence pathways - if primed into early action - could stop the parasite from stealing into the host root.
It's amazing the difference one single positive result can have - and it certainly illustrates the true rollercoaster nature of a PhD. It had been a long, dark winter in terms of both my mood and forthcoming data. Countless times, I felt in despair and that I was fruitlessly casting around in the dark for something that may not even be there. There were many occasions where I worried that my thesis would be a gallery of 'failed' experiments that would be impossible to defend in a viva. But suddenly things have been turned on their head. My supervisors are excited, and - like a blossoming shoot - a new line of enquiry has surged into life. I already have a list of another five mutants to try next, that could reveal finer details about what is going on at the molecular level in the host-parasite interaction.
|Bluebells in Ecclesall Woods|
|Striga gesnerioides growing on tobacco|
I hope you are enjoying the Bank Holiday weekend (another one?!) I managed to have a brief escape today to see the bluebells out in Ecclesall Woods....but it's back to data analysis tomorrow. Thanks again for reading! Stay tuned for my next post : could climate change make our key crops sterile?