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Drought tolerance in potatoes
Date:6/27/2008

of responses to drought conditions, depending on their genetic and ecotypic backgrounds, but a number of drought responsive genes are conserved across plant taxa, especially genes involved in osmotic adjustment, detoxification, and cell communication and signaling. Schafleitner and his co-workers studied two Andean potato clones, SA2563 and Sullu (Solanum tuberosum) L. subsp. Andigena (Juz, Bukasov) under field conditions and used microarrays to to identify genes that are up- and down-regulated under drought conditions.

The scientists identified about 2000 genes that were differentially regulated under drought conditions. Many of these genes contribute to the increased drought tolerance of the two clones under investigation. Up-regulated genes included transcription factors and cell signaling-related genes such as kinases and phosphatases, which regulate numerous functions, including metabolic changes and cell defense functions. Solute concentrations were increased, lowering osmotic potential, to induce uptake of water from drying soils. Increased expression of lipid transfer genes and fatty-acid and wax synthase genes suggested the reinforcement of cell membranes and cuticles. Genes for cell wall components were also upregulated, as were biosynthetic genes for antioxidants such as flavonoids and anthocyanins, which function in cell protection and detoxification under oxidative stress Many of the ancient potato landraces were adaptations to different environmental conditions such as different soils, temperature, altitude, and drought. Preservation of these varieties and knowledge of their genetic and adaptive histories are of paramount importance as farmers around the world cope with changes in temperature and water availability and struggle to maintain a food supply for growing populations. The International Potato Center in Lima, Peru maintains the world's largest collection of tubers in the interest of conserving the genetic diversity of potat
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Contact: Roland Schlafleitner
r.schafleitner@cgiar.org
511-349-6017
American Society of Plant Biologists
Source:Eurekalert

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