For those that missed the PhD defence of Maria Cecília Dias Costa, but would still be interested to have a look (or for those who were present, but want to have another look): you can find the recordings of this event via this link.
Genetic markers and maps are instrumental in quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping in segregating populations. The resolution of QTL localization depends on the number of informative recombinations in the population and how well they are tagged by markers. Larger populations and denser marker maps are better for detecting and locating QTLs. Marker maps that are initially too sparse can be saturated or derived de novo from high-throughput omics data, (e.g. gene expression, protein or metabolite abundance). If these molecular phenotypes are affected by genetic variation due to a major QTL they will show a clear multimodal distribution. Using this information, phenotypes can be converted into genetic markers.
As the world's population grows and the effects of climate change come into sharper relief, we'll have to feed more people using less arable land. Molecular biologist Jill Farrant studies a rare phenomenon that may help: "resurrection plants" -- super-resilient plants that seemingly come back from the dead. Could they hold promise for growing food in our coming hotter, drier world?
During re-establishment of desiccation tolerance (DT), early events promote initial protection and growth arrest, while late events promote stress adaptation and contribute to survival in the dry state.
Mature seeds of Arabidopsis thaliana are desiccation tolerant, but they lose desiccation tolerance (DT) while progressing to germination. Yet, there is a small developmental window during which DT can be rescued by treatment with abscisic acid (ABA). To gain temporal resolution and identify relevant genes in this process, data from a time series of microarrays were used to build a gene co-expression network. The network has two regions, namely early response (ER) and late response (LR). Genes in the ER region are related to biological processes, such as dormancy, acquisition of DT and drought, amplification of signals, growth arrest and induction of protection mechanisms (such as LEA proteins). Genes in the LR region lead to inhibition of photosynthesis and primary metabolism, promote adaptation to stress conditions and contribute to seed longevity. Phenotyping of 12 hubs in relation to re-establishment of DT with T-DNA insertion lines indicated a significant increase in the ability to re-establish DT compared with the wild-type in the lines cbsx4, at3g53040 and at4g25580, suggesting the operation of redundant and compensatory mechanisms. Moreover, we show that re-establishment of DT by polyethylene glycol and ABA occurs through partially overlapping mechanisms. Our data confirm that co-expression network analysis is a valid approach to examine data from time series of transcriptome analysis, as it provides promising insights into biologically relevant relations that help to generate new information about the roles of certain genes for DT.
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