Plant senescence and death represent a very important and unique aspect of life: While most biological studies are concerned with how biogenesis is achieved, plant senescence provides a novel window to the ways in which the orderly, regulated disassembly of cells, organs, and organisms occurs. Plant senescence and death have a biological purpose in the sense that the nutrients derived from the disassembly process are passed on to progeny as a parental investment. In fact, many of the grains we eat are "nutrients" derived from the senescing leaves of crops. The modulation of senescence therefore has huge potential to improve plant productivity. One of biology's unresolved fundamental questions is this: How is time and the aging process incorporated in the developmental cycle of plant senescence?
The overall goal of this project is to gain insight into the system-level senescence and cell-death processes of plants, from the perspective of a life-history strategy. Acquiring such knowledge at molecular, cellular, intercellular, organ, and organismal levels will lead to breakthroughs that significantly improve plant productivity.
We intend to build core technology units in cooperation with group leaders and Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST), focusing our efforts on the computational unit, super-resolution and sensitivity-imaging unit, chemical genetics unit, systems genetics unit, and phenome unit. All the core technology units will be world-class, world-leading operations.
This study will provide an unprecedentedly detailed understanding of molecular events that clearly illustrates spatio-temporal multilayered networks and modules on this scientifically interesting and important subject. Furthermore, because plant productivity is highly influenced by senescence, our study can significantly contribute to resolving global problems (e.g., food and energy shortages; excessive carbon dioxide emissions). All organisms undergo aging and eventually die. Life history, senescence, and death are fundamental and philosophical matters for human beings. This study, which creates new paradigms for understanding life history and senescence, may also provide a crucial breakthrough in our understanding of age-dependent senescence and death.