Sunday, October 29, 2017
Gene Networks Dictate Plants' Responses to Cold, Stress
Scientists Samuel Scarpino, David Des Marais, Rafael Guerrero, and Jesse Lasky studied gene expressions in plants. They explored the networks that have to do with plants' ability to survive in drought and cold. There is variation in gene expressions of plants, which shows an evolution that allows plants to respond to environmental stressors. The scientists studied and attempted to understand the interactions between the genetic networks in the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, a plant in the same family as cabbage and broccoli. The scientists focused on two networks of gene expression: one adapted to cold, and the other adapted to drought. The two adaptations differ evolutionarily. For the gene expression adapted to drought, "the differentiated tissues of the roots, stems, and leaves each performs distinctive operations." In short, the genes adapted to cope with drought mapped to a peripheral genetic network in the plant. For the gene expressions adapted to cold, the cells' tissues act similarly to single-celled ancestors. In short, the genes adapted to cope with the cold mapped to a central genetic network in the plant.
These discoveries will be useful to the agricultural industry, and will increase the value of the plant since it can survive in challenging environments.