by Staff Writers
Melbourne, Australia (SPX) May 14, 2015
Researchers have discovered a new gene that enables plants to regulate their growth in different temperatures. Published in PLoS Genetics, the finding could lead to new ways of optimising plant growth when it comes to climate change.
Associate Professor Sureshkumar Balasubramanian, from Monash University, along with colleagues in Spain, made the discovery after analysing natural populations of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, commonly known as thale cress.
"Plants are highly sensitive to environmental changes and even small changes in temperature impact on their growth," he said. "We were surprised to find that some populations of Arabidopsis simply would not grow when the temperatures increased as little as 3-4 + C."
The researchers set out to find the genes responsible for this growth defect and after years of work, they were able to discover the underlying gene, which they refer to as ICARUS1, reflecting the temperature sensitivity conferred by the gene.
"With increasing average temperatures across the globe being predicted to have negative impacts on agricultural productivity, it is important to understand more about how plants regulate their growth," said Associate Professor Balasubramanian, School of Biological Sciences, which was also echoed by Dr. Carlos Alonso Blanco, who co-lead the investigation at National Center of Biotechnology (CSIC) from Spain.
Plants that carried a defective ICARUS1 gene stopped growing when the temperature reached hot levels, and continued growing when it cooled down again.
"This allows us to envisage novel ways and mechanisms through which plant growth can be optimised," Associate Professor Balasubramanian said.
"Interestingly, Arabidopsis isn't the only plant to have this gene, it is also found in nearly all other organisms, which suggests that our findings can be explored in crops."
The researchers said the findings provided insights into how plants modulate their growth, and could lead to scientists designing plants that could withstand elevated temperatures.
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.|