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In plants, ARGONAUTEs (AGOs) are the effector proteins functioning in small RNA (sRNA)-directed gene silencing pathways controlling key biological processes such as development, chromatin remodeling, stress responses and antiviral defense. AGOs interact with other proteins, load sRNAs, and target and silence specific RNAs through sequence-specific interactions conferred by their guide sRNA. AGOs can be programmed with highly-specific, computationally-designed artificial sRNAs to silence the desired gene(s) in gene function studies or for crop improvement.

We seek to develop both new basic knowledge and biotechnological tools for crop improvement while addressing major gaps in the plant AGO field.

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