Crop Biotech Update

Stockholm University Scientists Discover Gene that Helps Submerged Plants

December 19, 2018

A study from Stockholm University reveals that special genes keep plants from withering, staying healthy despite the lack of oxygen when they are underwater for extended periods of time.

Sylvia Lindberg, professor at Stockholm University, looked at how plants become more resistant to oxygen deficiency. During this period, special genes signal danger and the plant activates other genes to help defend itself. One of these genes is PLD, which forms the enzyme phospholipase D. Until now, the key role it plays in the plants' oxygen deficiency signal systems was unknown.

Lindberg and her research team used mutant plants lacking the potentially protective gene to see how they would perform during a simulated flood. The leaves of the mutant plants turned yellow and died, meaning that the gene plays a role in keeping the plants in good condition. Some of the mutant plants produced less calcium and less phosphatidic acid, substances that signal stress in plants.

For more details, read the news releases from Stockholm University.