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Crop Biotech Update

AtRAV1 and AtRAV2 Overexpression in Cotton Increases Fiber Length and Delays Flowering under Drought Stress

November 4, 2015

To understand drought stress signaling and adaptation in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) fiber development, a research team led by Amandeep Mittal of Texas Tech University overexpressed the Arabidopsis genes AtRAV1 and AtRAV2 in cotton. These genes are known to repress transcription of FLOWERING_LOCUS_T (FT) and promote stomatal opening cell-autonomously.

AtRAV1 and AtRAV2-overexpressing cotton had significantly longer fibers with only marginal decreases in yields under well-watered or drought stress conditions. The longer transgenic fibers from drought-stressed transgenics were stronger and more uniform than fibers from well-watered control plants.

The transgenic AtRAV1 and AtRAV2 lines also flowered late and retained bolls at higher nodes, which correlated with repression of endogenous GhFT-Like (FTL) transcript accumulation. The results show that altered expression of RAVs has the potential for phenotypic modification of crops.

To learn more, read the article in Plant Science.