Professor Sue Wessler on Plant Biology and Genomics
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Professor Sue Wessler on Plant Biology and Genomics


We work on genome evolution. Mostly
we look at transposable elements which are genetic entities that move from place to place and since we have been able – people have been able to
sequence genomes, it turns out that they are the most predominant component of all genomes of
higher organisms. Our research is mostly basic, so we
ask the question how can these transposable elements comprise, for example, 50% of the human
genome. Well, how can – how can this happen? How how
can 50% human genome be comprised of something that we didn’t even know existed … a century ago, let’s say. And
the question really that we’re interested in is is… why do living organisms
tolerate this much genetic material that has no apparent use? And our interest obviously it does
have uses and that’s what our interest is, is the evolutionary role of these in… diversifying species. I chose UCR for a couple
of reasons… and one – the two main reasons have to
do much who interest with your research and teaching. So, in terms of research my lab
works in plant biology, plant genomics and this is one of the strongest departments, strongest universities
in plant genomics, really in Southern California … and this new beautiful building … that I’ll be able to move my
program into – first time I’ll be in a new building in my career – … and the second has to do teaching. Bringing the excitement of science discovery to the teaching lab to – to the
classroom for undergraduates and for high school students has been a real passion of mine for the last
couple years and the university here is very much invested in the
community … and that interest has really… put two together really synergized to
… for me to be have great interest in
coming here.

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