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Michael Marcotrigiano


email Send E–mail office Office: Lyman Plant House phone Phone: 585–2741

Michael Marcotrigiano earned his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland.

Prior to joining Smith College as director of the Botanic Garden, I was a research/teaching faculty member at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. My research considers several areas of plant development but concentrates on leaf and meristem development. Basic research includes the use of genetic mosaics to study cell-to-cell interactions that regulate the development of plant organs. I have developed a methodology whereby genetic mosaics (i.e., chimeras) can be synthesized by forcing adventitious shoots of multicellular origin from the graft union of plants of different genotype. Using phenotypic and genetic markers we are able to trace cell fate with high resolution. We are using such chimeras to determinate of the relative influence of leaf cell layers in the regulation of leaf size and shape and for an analysis of developmental plasticity of floral meristem cell layers during floral organ initiation. In addition to using chimeras, the characterization of mutations for leaf blade development is performed.

Another area of interest is in the control of variegation patterns in plants. Although we have used variegated plants as a means to understand cell division patterns and organ formation, many variegated plants remain genetically and anatomically uncharacterized. A careful characterization of variegated mutants can make them useful candidates in developmental analysis.

The applied portion of my program includes many aspects of plant propagation using plant tissue culture (micropropagation) and conventional means to propagate endangered, rare and economically valuable genotypes. In addition, I have a breeding program aimed at developing new ornamentals.

Representative Publications

Marcotrigiano, M. 2010. "A role for leaf epidermis in the control of leaf size and the rate and extent of mesophyll cell division." American Journal of Botany 97(2):224-233

Marcotrigiano, M. 2009. "Epidermal cell division influences mesophyll cell divison and leaf blade expansion." Amer. J. Bot. (in revision).

Bruno, A., M. Marcotrigiano, and N. Horton. 2007. "A three-stage micropropagation system for a novel color morph of the wildflower Porteranthus trifoliatus (L.) Britt. Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture 90: 9–13.

Marcotrigiano, M. 2001. "Genetic mosaics and the analysis of leaf development." International Journal of Plant Science 162: 513–25.

Marcotrigiano, M., and G. Hackett. 2000. "Nitrosomethylurea induces nuclear and cytoplasmic chlorophyll mutations in Nicotiana glauca Grahm." Annals of Botany 86: 293–98.

Marcotrigiano, M. 2000. "Herbivory could unlock mutations sequestered in stratified shoot apices of genetic mosaics." American Journal of Botany 87: 355–61.

McHale, N. A., and M. Marcotrigiano. 1998. "LAM1 is required for dorsoventrality and lateral growth of the leaf blade of Nicotiana." Development 125: 4235–43.