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Jody Banks

Botany and Plant Pathology 

  • Professor
Whistler Hall Room B028

My lab is exploring how the fern Pteris vittata is able to grow and accumulate high levels of arsenic in its fronds.  We have identified several genes that have been experimentally shown to be necessary for arsenic tolerance in this fern.  Our current research goals are to determine how the proteins encoded by these genes enable the plant to transport arsenic from the root and transport it to the shoot, where the deadly arsenic is sequestered in the vacuoles of the cells.  

We are also interested in understanding how the sex of the fern gametophyte is determined by a pheromone, which is made then secreted by the female and causes her neighbors to be male.  One important goal is to identify the structure of the pheromone.  Knowing its structure will allow us to figure out how the signal is transduced and how the pheromone promotes the development of male traits while suppressing the development of female traits.


Selected Publications

Wang, C., Na, G., Sanchez, B., Chen, Y., Banks, J. A., Salt, D. E., & Zhao, F. (2017). Dissecting the components controlling root-to-shoot arsenic translocation in Arabidopsis thaliana. Manuscript submitted for publication.

2) The roles of abscisic acid (ABA) have changed through time, yet perception via PYR/RCAR family receptor proteins is ancient. (2017). Manuscript submitted for publication.

Atallah, N., & Banks, J. (in press). Reproduction and the pheromonal regulation of sex type in fern gametophytes. Frontiers in Plant Science.

Sessa, E., Banks, J., Barker, M., Der, J., Duffy, A., Graham, S., & Mitsuyasu, M. (2014). Between two fern genomes. GigaScience, 3(1), 15.

Banks, J., Harholt, J., SÀrensen, I., Fangel, J., Roberts, A., Willats, W., . . . Ulvskov, P. (2012). The glycosyltransferase repertoire of the spikemoss Selaginella moellendorffii and a comparative study of its cell wall. PLOS One, 7(5), e35846. Retrieved from

Nishiyama, T., & Hasebe, T. (2011). The Selaginella genome identifies genetic changes associated with the evolution of vascular plants. Science, 332(6032), 960-963.

Indriolo, E., Na, G., Ellis, D., & Salt, D. (2010). A vacuolar arsenite transporter necessary for arsenic tolerance in the arsenic hyperaccumulating fern Pteris vittata is missing in flowering plants. Plant Cell, 22, 2045-2057.

Robinson, G., Padilla, D., Burggren, W., Cohen, C., Delwiche, C., Funk, V., & Tomanek, L. (2010). Empowering 21st Century biology. BioScience, 60, 923-930.

Selaginella and 400 million years of separation. (2009). Annual Review of Plant Biology, 60, 223-238.

MicroRNA, sex determination and floral meristem determinacy in maize. (2008). Genome Biology, 30, 204-207.

Botany and Plant Pathology, 915 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907 USA, (765) 494-4614

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