Drought response identified in potential biofuel plant
The researchers found that these stress responses were about the same between the two variants under drought conditions. However, plants with JcPIP1 disabled were slower to recover from salt damage.
Analysis of plant parts during the stress and recovery stages showed that JcPIP2 was mostly active in the early stages of stress while JcPIP1 expression was greater during recovery. The timing indicates that JcPIP1 may be crucial in helping Jatropha recover from damage while JcPIP2 may play a role in prevention.
How the two genes affect other plant functions remains unknown, and how large a part they play in the entire network of drought resistance relies on further study.
"Plants have complex genetic and biochemical pathways for environmental stress resistance, that includes (multiple) genes and pathways," said Carlson. "This inherent redundancy in stress responses ensures survival under varying environmental conditions, and provides many possible approaches to improving resistance."
According to the research team, the next step is to find how the JcPIP genes work at the cellular level, which can provide more detailed profiles of each gene's exact function.
Other researchers on this project include lead investigator Sung Ju Ahn and Ha-Young Jangat, Chonnam National University, Korea; Seong-Wook Yang, associate professor of plant biology and biotechnology, University of Copenhagen; and Yang-Gyu Ku, Wonkwang University, Korea.
The Korea Rural Development Agency, National Research Foundation of Korea and the Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology funded this study.
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