Crop Biotech Update

Gene Inserted in Tobacco Plant Sheds Light to Increased Heat Stress Resistance

August 5, 2020

A team of Italian scientists inserted a gene from a soil bacterium to tobacco plants and this resulted in probable higher resistance of the plants to water and heat stress as compared to other genetic modifications done in the past.

The scientists investigated the effects of the roID gene from Agrobacterium rhizogenes that was inserted into Nicotiana langsdorffii, also known as Langdorff's tobacco. They investigated the potential of this genetic modification in decreasing the effects of water and high heat stresses. They used different approaches in their study, including high-throughput metabolomics and ionomics study, and identifying important plant phytohormones. They were able to determine that the decrease of elements and secondary metabolites and increase in amino acids and derivatives signified water stress reaction from the plant. These were identified to be key molecules in water stress.

Through the study, the scientists were also able to determine the influence of abiotic stresses on plants along with the effects of the roID genetic modification on plant stress response. The roID plants that were exposed to high-temperature stress were found to have higher dry weight levels compared to the controls. They were also found to have more potassium and adenosine, with lower levels of damage-associated metabolites. These suggest an increased resistance to heat stress by the plants. They recommended that more studies are required to further determine if the metabolic differences they concluded were related to the expression of the roID gene or to the knockdown gene mechanism.

The full article is published in Metabolites.

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