Navigation Links
Time of day matters to thirsty trees, U of T researcher discovers

TORONTO, November 23, 2009 - The time of day matters to forest trees dealing with drought, according to a new paper produced by a research team led by Professor Malcolm Campbell, University of Toronto Scarborough's vice-principal for research and colleagues in the department of cell and systems biology at the St. George campus.

Capitalizing on their previous work to decode the genome of the poplar tree, the research team examined how poplar trees use their 45,000 genes to respond to drought. Campbell and PhD student Olivia Wilkins, the lead researchers, along with researchers Levi Waldron, Hardeep Nahal and Nicholas Provart, had their findings published in the November 13 issue of the Plant Journal. The article is titled "Genotype and time of day shape the Populus drought response."

"Each gene is like a line of code in a computer program" says Campbell, a plant biologist. "Depending on which lines of code are used, the tree can create a different program to respond to environmental stimuli, like drought." The use of different combinations of genes creates different programs. The combination of genes that trees use in response to a stress, like drought, determines whether the tree can survive this stress or not.

In the past, researchers examined drought-responsive gene programs at a single time point normally in the middle of the day when most researchers work in the lab or the field. Wilkins did her experiments so that she examined the gene programs at multiple times throughout the day and night.

Surprisingly, working together with University of Toronto bioinformaticians, the team found that trees used different drought response gene programs at different times of day. That is, the drought response gene program that the trees used in the middle of the day was different from the program used in the middle of the night.

"Previously, researchers referred to the drought response as though it was a single, simple program that ran all the time," Campbell notes. The new research shows that the story is not that simple. "Rather than one program, trees use multiple programs, each of which runs at a different time of day," says Wilkins.

The discovery that trees use different programs at different times of the day is described as a critical finding. Previous research may have overemphasised the importance of some genes in helping trees to contend with drought, and totally missed others that are important.

The new work provides insights and tools to enable future researchers to identify, conserve and breed trees that are better able to contend with drought. Drought is an increasingly-important malady for forest trees, as it can dramatically reduce forest growth, and, in severe cases, increase forest susceptibility to insect pests and bring about catastrophic forest death. Given the importance of forest trees in vast ecosystems the world over, and as a renewable resource of great economic value, a better understanding of how trees contend with drought can have far-reaching implications for the environment and the economy. The new findings could play a role in safeguarding one of Canada's most important natural resources, our forest trees.


Contact: Eleni Kanavas
University of Toronto

Related biology news :

1. The skeleton: Size matters
2. Shape matters in the case of cobalt nanoparticles
3. Penn biologists demonstrate that size matters... in snail shells
4. Sequence matters in droughts and floods
5. In spiders, size matters: Small males are more often meals
6. How size matters
7. Primate sperm competition: speed matters
8. Iowa student engineers develop hand-held water sanitizer for a thirsty world
9. Ants are friendly to some trees, but not others
10. As ash borer claims more trees, researcher at ISU works for species survival
11. Plastic that grows on trees, part two
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/26/2015)... and LAS VEGAS , ... Nok Labs , an innovator in modern authentication and ... today announced the launch of its latest version of ... platform enabling organizations to use standards-based authentication that supports ... Nok S3 Authentication Suite is ideal for organizations deploying ...
(Date:10/23/2015)... California , October 23, 2015 ... (SMI) announce a mobile plug and play integration of ... real-world tasks SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI) present ... wearable solutions for eye tracking and physiological data registration. ... SMI Eye Tracking Glasses 2w and physiological ...
(Date:10/22/2015)... 2015 About fingerprint biometrics ... individual with the database to identify and verify an ... loop. Pattern-based algorithms are used to match an individual,s ... was introduced in 1986, which is being used by ... criminal. Technavio,s analysts forecast the global fingerprint ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), ... MultiGP, also known as Multirotor Grand Prix, to represent the First–Person View (FPV) racing ... AMA members have embraced this type of racing and several new model aviation pilots ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... QUEBEC CITY , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... (the "Company") announced today that the remaining 11,000 ... Common Share Purchase Warrants (the "Series B Warrants") ... agreement were exercised on November 23, 2015, which ... Common Shares.  After giving effect to the issuance ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Creation Technologies would like ... to Deloitte's 2015 Technology Fast 500 list of the fastest growing companies in ... Class II medical device that speeds up orthodontic tooth movement by as much ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. , Nov. 24, 2015  PDL ... John P. McLaughlin , the company,s president and chief ... Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference next week in New ... and will occur on Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 9:30 ... and Presentations." Please connect to the website at least 15 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: