Navigation Links
Nottingham scientists reveal genetic 'wiring' of seeds

The genetic 'wiring' that helps a seed to decide on the perfect time to germinate has been revealed by scientists for the first time.

Plant biologists at The University of Nottingham have also discovered that the same mechanism that controls germination is responsible for another important decision in the life cycle of plants when to start flowering.

Their discovery throws light on the genetic mechanisms that plants use to detect and respond to vital environmental cues and could be a significant step towards the development of new crop species that are resistant to climate change and would help secure future food supplies.

Seeds in the soil sense a whole range of environmental signals including temperature, light, moisture and nutrients, when deciding whether to germinate or to remain dormant.

To ensure that the decision for a seed to germinate is made at the perfect moment to ensure survival, evolution has genetically 'wired' seeds in a very complex way to avoid making potentially deadly mistakes.

The breakthrough has been made by scientists at Nottingham's Division of Crop and Plant Sciences who collaborate within one of the University's Research Priority Groups, Global Food Security. The team compiled publicly available gene expression data and used a systematic statistical analysis to untangle the complex web of genetic interactions in a model plant called Arabidopsis thaliana or thale cress. The plant is commonly used for studying plant biology as changes in the plant are easily observed and it was the first plant to have its entire genome sequenced.

The resulting gene network or SeedNet as it was dubbed highlighted what little scientists already know about the regulation of seed germination while being able to predict novel regulators of this process with remarkable accuracy.

The work was led by Dr George Bassel who joined The University of Nottingham on an NSERC PDF fellowship from the Canadian government to work with Professor Mike Holdsworth on research into seed germination. He has since been awarded a prestigious Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship.

Dr Bassel said: "To our surprise, the seed network demonstrated that genetic factors controlling seed germination were the same as those controlling the other irreversible decision in the life cycle of plants: the decision to start flowering. The induction of flowering, like germination, is highly responsive to cues from the environment."

Another key finding from SeedNet was that the same genes that leaves and roots use to respond to stress are used by seeds to stop their germination. Given that seeds were evolved long after plants developed their ability to withstand environmental stress, this indicated that plants have adapted existed genes to fulfil a different role. The work could lead to identifying important factors controlling stress response in seeds and the plant itself, contributing towards the development of new crops producing increased yields under extreme environmental conditions such as drought or floods.


Contact: Emma Thorne
University of Nottingham

Related biology news :

1. Transportation fuels of the future: Nottingham leads the way
2. International prize for Nottingham spine research
3. Nottinghamshire Police First Law Enforcement Agency to Deploy ForensicSoft in United Kingdom
4. 2010 Julian Cole Lectureship awarded to John King, University of Nottingham
5. Microbiology brought to life in Nottingham
6. Nottingham success in green technologies awards
7. Nottingham researchers help bridge the urban and rural divide in the UK and India
8. Jefferson scientists deliver toxic genes to effectively kill pancreatic cancer cells
9. Scientists identify novel inhibitor of human microRNA
10. Argonne scientists peer into heart of compound that may detect chemical, biological weapons
11. MU scientists go green with gold, distribute environmentally friendly nanoparticles
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/27/2015)... -- Munich, Germany , October ... automatically maps data from mobile eye tracking videos created ... that they can be quantitatively analyzed with SMI,s analysis ... , October 28-29, 2015. SMI,s Automated Semantic Gaze ... tracking videos created with SMI,s Eye Tracking Glasses ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... 26, 2015 ... adds Biometrics Market Shares, Strategies ... well as Emerging Biometrics Technologies: Global ... its collection of IT and Telecommunications ... --> . ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... , Oct. 26, 2015  Delta ID Inc., ... authentication to mobile and PC devices, announced its ActiveIRIS® ... the arrows NX F-02H launched by NTT DOCOMO, INC ... F-02H is the second smartphone to include iris recognition ... in ARROWS NX F-04G in May 2015, world,s first ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... -- SHPG ) announced today that Jeff Poulton ... th Annual Healthcare Conference in New York City ... EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). --> SHPG ) announced today ... the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference in ... 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). --> ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... -- Tikcro Technologies Ltd. (OTCQB: TIKRF) today announced that its Annual General Meeting ... Israel time, at the law offices of ... th Floor, Tel Aviv, Israel . ... Izhak Tamir to the Board of Directors; , election of ... approval of an amendment to certain terms of options granted to our ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... FRANCISCO , Nov. 24, 2015  Twist ... announced that Emily Leproust, Ph.D., Twist Bioscience chief ... Jaffray Healthcare Conference on December 1, 2015 at ... Hotel in New York City. --> ... . Twist Bioscience is on Twitter. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 24, 2015 , ... InSphero AG, the leading supplier of easy-to-use solutions for ... Aregger to serve as Chief Operating Officer. , Having joined InSphero in ... and was promoted to Head of InSphero Diagnostics in 2014. There she ...
Breaking Biology Technology: