Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
AgriGenomics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Hidden Layer of Genome Unveils how Plants may Adapt to Environments Throughout the World

Published: Thursday, March 07, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, March 07, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have identified patterns of epigenomic diversity that not only allow plants to adapt to various environments, but could also benefit crop production and the study of human diseases.

Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have identified patterns of epigenomic diversity that not only allow plants to adapt to various environments, but could also benefit crop production and the study of human diseases.

Published March 6 in Nature, the findings show that in addition to genetic diversity found in plants throughout the world, their epigenomic makeup is as varied as the environments in which they are found. Epigenomics is the study of the pattern of chemical markers that serve as a regulatory layer on top of the DNA sequence. Depending on where they grow, the plants' epigenomic differences may allow them to rapidly adapt to their environments.

Epigenomic modifications alter gene expression without changing the letters of the DNA alphabet (A-T-C-G), providing cells with an additional tool to fine-tune how genes control the cellular machinery. These changes occur not only in plants, but in humans as well.

"We looked at plants collected from around the world and found that their epigenomes are surprisingly different," says senior author Joseph R. Ecker, a professor in Salk's Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory and holder of the Salk International Council Chair in Genetics. "This additional diversity may create a way for plants to rapidly adapt to diverse environments without any genetic change in their DNA, which takes a very long time."

By understanding epigenomic alterations in plants, scientists may be able to manipulate them for various purposes, including biofuels and creating crops that can withstand stressful events such as drought. That knowledge of epigenomic changes in crop plants could tell producers what to breed for and could have a huge impact on identifying plants that can survive certain conditions and adapt to environmental stressors, says Ecker, who is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Investigator.

Using MethylC-Seq, a method for mapping epigenomic changes developed by Ecker, the researchers analyzed methylation patterns from a population of Arabidopsis thaliana, a modest mustard weed that has become to plant biology what laboratory mice are to animal biology. The plants were from a variety of climates in the Northern Hemisphere, from Europe to Asia and Sweden to the Cape Verde Islands. Ecker's team examined the genomes and methylomes of A. thaliana, the makeup of their entire genetic and epigenomic codes, respectively, which is the first step toward understanding the impact of epigenetic changes on the plants' physical characteristics and ability to adapt to their environment.

"We expected variation in methylation patterns among groups of plants from around the globe," says co-lead author Robert J. Schmitz, a postdoctoral researcher in Ecker's lab. "The amount, however, was far greater than we ever anticipated."


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 4,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,300+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Salk scientists discover how plants grow to escape shade
Findings could lead to high-yield crops that gather light more efficiently and make better use of farmland
Friday, April 20, 2012
Scientific News
Plant Analysis – Identifying Metabolites
New plant analysis method shows biologically active plant substances are far more common than previously thought.
Exploring the Genome of the River Blindness Parasite
Researchers have decoded the genome of the parasite that causes the skin and eye infection known as river blindness.
Gene Editing Yields Tomatoes That Ripen Weeks Earlier
Research team develop method to make tomato plants flower and ripen fruit two weeks faster than current growth rates.
Gene-Editing Improves Vision in Blind Rats
Scientists developed a targeted gene-replacement technique that can modify genes in both dividing and non-dividing cells in living animals.
BGI Sequences Gingko Tree, Revealing Large, Highly Repetitive Genome
Researchers at BGI have sequenced the more than 10-gigabase ginkgo genome to find a high number of repetitive sequences as well as a number of gene clusters that appear to be involved in defense mechanisms.
Biologists Discover Origin of Stomata
Researchers discover genetic mechanism similar in flowering plants and mosses is a result of evolutionary conservation.
Uncovering a World of Viruses
Study that shows human diseases like influenza are derived from those present in invertebrates.
Engineering Bacteria to Aid Ethanol
Splicing in genes for ethanol production into bacteria in order to produce ethanol rather than not lactic acid.
Controlling Cell Division in Plants
Researchers succeeded in developing a new compound, a triarylmethane, that can rapidly inhibit cell division in plants.
Plant Aging Study Produces Insights into Crop Yields
New insights into the mechanism behind how plants age may help scientists better understand crop yields and nutrient allocation.
SELECTBIO

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
4,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,300+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!