PLASTICITY OF PLANTS HELPS THEM ADAPT TO CLIMATE CHANGE
News Mar 22, 2011
Climate change has affected plant performance in several ways. One of the plant's responses is the shift in structure and function known as phenotypic plasticity. A study published in Trends in Plant Science provides information on plastic responses of plants to global climate change. A.B. Nicotra of the Australian National University and his co-authors reported that plants in natural and agricultural systems have the capacity to adapt to a changing environment without requiring any evolutionary changes, which consistently happens over a number of generations.
Several studies have also shown that plants exposed to changing environments have higher degrees of plasticity. The plant's ability to change structure and function when exposed to changes in the environment could help breeders in producing crop varieties with higher levels of plasticity. The authors also presented the molecular basis of plastic responses in key traits.
Seeds remain in a dormant, "sleeping" state as long as the environmental conditions are not ideal for germination. The depth of this "sleep" is influenced by the seed's mother. Researchers have shown how this maternal imprint is transmitted through "interfering" RNAs which inactivate certain genes.READ MORE