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Crop Biotech Update

Different Drought Levels Cause Changes in Gene Expression in Arabidopsis Reproductive Tissues

June 18, 2014

Most studies on plant response to drought have focused on vegetative development. Morphological changes of reproductive development under various drought conditions have not yet been fully studied. Hence, Arabidopsis plants were grown under two drought conditions: moderate drought (45-50% soil water content) and severe drought (30-35% soil water content). Plants in moderate drought were still able to produce a similar number of siliques and seeds as well-watered plants, in contrast to plants grown in severe drought.

Analysis showed a change in the level of gene expression in more than four thousand genes in plants under severe drought. Meanwhile, in those plants under moderate drought, less than two thousand genes had changed their levels of expression. Some genes were also found to alter their expression only in moderate drought but not the severe drought, indicating distinct sets of genes responsive to different levels of water availability.

Different pathways in reproductive tissues may be activated depending on the level of drought. This helps plants to maximize its yield and balance the resource consumption between vegetative and reproductive development during drought stresses.

If you want to read more on this promising study, please visit http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2229/14/164/abstract.