Genome-wide mapping reveals developmental and environmental impacts

Aug 16, 2011

Complex traits that help plants adapt to environmental challenges are likely influenced by variations in thousands of genes that are affected by both the plant's growth and the external environment, reports a team of researchers at the University of California, Davis.

The findings were revealed by a genomewide association mapping of the defense metabolism in , a common research plant. The researchers, led by UC Davis plant scientist Daniel Kliebenstein, report the study results today, Aug. 16, in the online journal .

In the study, Kliebenstein and colleagues measured glucosinolates (GSL), a key class of that the plant produces to protect against insect attacks and disease-causing organisms. The researchers measured the compound in two developmental stages — at two days and 35 days after germination. They also sampled plant tissues that were either treated or not treated with silver nitrate, mimicking environmental damage caused by a pest.

"We showed that both external and internal environments altered the identified so significantly that using plant tissues from different developmental stages, or that were treated with the silver nitrate, led to the identification of very different gene sets for particular traits," Kliebenstein said.

The group noted that the developmental stage of the plant had three times as much influence as the environment on the genes they identified.

Because the genomewide association mapping identified so many different genes as potentially responsible for traits associated with GSL , the researchers developed a new process for winnowing candidate genes. The process analyzes overlapping datasets of genomic information to filter out true-positive gene identifications.

Genomewide association mapping involves rapidly scanning markers across entire genomes to find genetic variations associated with a particular trait, condition or disease. The approach has been used to study complex human diseases such as asthma and diabetes.

The researchers hope that the new two-pronged approach to genomewide association can be applied to any plant and animal species.

Explore further: Peripheral clocks don't need the brain's master clock to function correctly

Provided by University of California - Davis

4 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Searching for genes behind a trait

Mar 24, 2010

A method pioneered to find the genetic basis of human diseases also holds promise for locating the genes behind important traits in plants, according to a study published online March 24 by the journal Nature.

Internal clock, external light regulate plant growth

Jul 09, 2007

Most plants and animals show changes in activity over a 24-hour cycle. Now, for the first time, researchers have shown how a plant combines signals from its internal clock with those from the environment to show a daily rhythm ...

Study targets disease resistance in corn

Jan 11, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- In a paper published online this week in Nature Genetics, North Carolina State University and U.S. Department of Agriculture crop scientists and plant pathologists sift through millions of gen ...

Recommended for you

Identifying the source of stem cells

Oct 30, 2014

When most animals begin life, cells immediately begin accepting assignments to become a head, tail or a vital organ. However, mammals, including humans, are special. The cells of mammalian embryos get to ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.