Capitalizing on their previous work to decode the genome of the poplar tree, the research team examined how poplar trees use their 45,000 genes to respond to drought.
Campbell and PhD student Olivia Wilkins, the lead researchers, along with researchers Levi Waldron, Hardeep Nahal and Nicholas Provart, had their findings published in the November 13 issue of the Plant Journal. The article is titled "Genotype and time of day shape the Populus drought response."
"Each gene is like a line of code in a computer program" says Campbell, a plant biologist. "Depending on which lines of code are used, the tree can create a different program to respond to environmental stimuli, like drought." The use of different combinations of genes creates different programs. The combination of genes that trees use in response to a stress, like drought, determines whether the tree can survive this stress or not.
In the past, researchers examined drought-responsive gene programs at a single time point – normally in the middle of the day when most researchers work in the lab or the field. Wilkins did her experiments so that she examined the gene programs at multiple times throughout the day and night.
Surprisingly, working together with University of Toronto bioinformaticians, the team found that trees used different drought response gene programs at different times of day. That is, the drought response gene program that the trees used in the middle of the day was different from the program used in the middle of the night.
"Previously, researchers referred to the drought response as though it was a single, simple program that ran all the time," Campbell notes. The new research shows that the story is not that simple. "Rather than one program, trees use multiple programs, each of which runs at a different time of day," says Wilkins.
The discovery that trees use different programs at different times of the day is described as a critical finding. Previous research may have overemphasised the importance of some genes in helping trees to contend with drought, and totally missed others that are important.
The new work provides insights and tools to enable future researchers to identify, conserve and breed trees that are better able to contend with drought. Drought is an increasingly-important malady for forest trees, as it can dramatically reduce forest growth, and, in severe cases, increase forest susceptibility to insect pests and bring about catastrophic forest death. Given the importance of forest trees in vast ecosystems the world over, and as a renewable resource of great economic value, a better understanding of how trees contend with drought can have far-reaching implications for the environment and the economy. The new findings could play a role in safeguarding one of Canada's most important natural resources, our forest trees.
This new University of Toronto research was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and is published in one of the top-ranked plant research journals, the Plant Journal. To view the paper online, visit: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/122541844/abstract.
Eleni Kanavas | EurekAlert!
Raiding the rape field
23.05.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
New technique reveals details of forest fire recovery
17.05.2018 | DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences