Remington investigates the genetic basis for resource allocation differences in plants
Dr. David Remington (Biology) is PI for a study that investigates the genetic basis for resource allocation differences in plants. “Complex Genetic Effects on Early Vegetative Development Shape Resource Allocation Differences Between Arabidopsis lyrata Populations” by Remington, Päivi H. Leinonen, Johanna Leppälä and Outi Savolainen was recently accepted for publication in the journal “Genetics.” Both plants and animals need to make “decisions” in allocating limited amounts of available energy or tissues to different uses such as reproduction vs. continued survival, the paper explains. However, we know very little about how these processes work. Their study shows that in the rock cress species they are studying, the process isn’t simply a “switching” process that shuttles resources between reproduction and growth. Instead, it appears to involve genetically-controlled differences in development that occur early in development, well before the plants start flowering, which have consequences for growth, reproduction and survival later on. Moreover, the timing of these processes and their consequences were very different when the plants were grown in different climates. Understanding these processes helps us learn what will happen to growth and development in plants when they are faced with changing climates.
“Nature Reviews Genetics,” a high-profile journal that publishes reviews of cutting-edge research in genetics, recently published online a full-page Research Highlight featuring this study.