Biotech Updates

Phosphorus and Moderate Climatic Changes Do Not Affect Genome Size, Study Says

September 24, 2010

Effects of climate change on plant's development, growth and life cycle have concerned many scientists, and some are wondering if these alterations could also affect the genome size or the amount of nuclear DNA which rapidly changes in response to environmental factors. Aside from climatic changes, nutrients such as phosphorus may also be a factor in genome size alterations because of its function in DNA biosynthesis. Jaume Pellicer of Royal Botanic Gardens, United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted an experimental work simulating climatic change by varying temperature and water availability in six Mediterranean plant species to investigate if these factors would affect the genome size of plants. Phosphorus was also measured in each plot to evaluate the relationship of the nutrient with genome size. Genome size, which is expressed in C-values, was found to be constant in all species studied under all conditions. This finding implies that moderate changes in climate such as 0.73oC increase in temperature and 19% decrease in soil water content for about 7 years and fluctuating phosphorus availability do not affect genome size stability.

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