Presentation Type

Poster

Title of Abstract

The effects of temperature stress on fitness traits and DNA methylation in the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana

Abstract

Climate change will dramatically alter temperature around the world. This research aims to identify the immediate effects of extreme temperature on plants and to determine if there are heritable effects that persist in future generations when the temperature stress is absent. Fitness traits dictate the ability of an organism to survive and reproduce. For the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana these traits include: plant diameter, leaf number, time to germination, and time to flowering. In a previous study, we grew individuals from each of 11 globally distributed, naturally occurring populations (accessions) of A. thaliana at high temperature (28°C) and low temperature (10°C) conditions. These plants showed temperature-specific differences in plant diameter and leaf number. In this study, I grew offspring from these individuals in a common environment (22°C). Results indicate differences in time to germination as well as time to flowering between offspring from high and low temperature treated plants of the same accession. This suggests that effects induced by extreme temperature remain in subsequent generations. At the moment, we are using methylation sensitive AFLP to identify inherited epigenetic changes, specifically DNA methylation, that may have been induced by the extreme temperature environments.

Categories

Natural Sciences

Research Type

Research Assistant

Mentor Information

Dr. Christina Richards

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The effects of temperature stress on fitness traits and DNA methylation in the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana

Climate change will dramatically alter temperature around the world. This research aims to identify the immediate effects of extreme temperature on plants and to determine if there are heritable effects that persist in future generations when the temperature stress is absent. Fitness traits dictate the ability of an organism to survive and reproduce. For the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana these traits include: plant diameter, leaf number, time to germination, and time to flowering. In a previous study, we grew individuals from each of 11 globally distributed, naturally occurring populations (accessions) of A. thaliana at high temperature (28°C) and low temperature (10°C) conditions. These plants showed temperature-specific differences in plant diameter and leaf number. In this study, I grew offspring from these individuals in a common environment (22°C). Results indicate differences in time to germination as well as time to flowering between offspring from high and low temperature treated plants of the same accession. This suggests that effects induced by extreme temperature remain in subsequent generations. At the moment, we are using methylation sensitive AFLP to identify inherited epigenetic changes, specifically DNA methylation, that may have been induced by the extreme temperature environments.