Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Pikaard, Craig S.
Location Indiana University
Primary Field Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences
Secondary Field Plant Biology
 Election Citation
Pikaard has revealed fundamental epigenetic mechanisms of gene dosage control and gene silencing in plants. He is a pioneer in studies of ribosomal RNA locus control, and has studied the specialized RNA polymerases Pol IV and Pol V that direct site-specific DNA methylation and formation of repressive chromatin.
 Research Interests
The Pikaard laboratory studies ribosomal RNA gene organization and expression, RNA polymerase I transcription, and RNA-mediated gene silencing. One focus of the laboratory is the epigenetic phenomenon known as nucleolar dominance, a phenomenon in which subsets of nearly identical ribosomal RNA genes are selectively silenced. A second focus concerns the DNA-dependent RNA Polymerases IV and V, which are plant-specific enzymes involved in small RNA-mediated DNA methylation and gene silencing. The Pikaard lab has played a leading role in the discovery and functional characterization of Polymerases IV and Pol V and the pathway in which they function, using a combination of genetics, genomics, molecular biology, cell biology and biochemistry.

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