Finding Genes to Help Fruiting Plants Adapt to Droughts
Published:23 Dec.2022    Source:Boyce Thompson Institute

As climate change is expected to lead to more frequent periods of drought, researchers are increasingly working to make discoveries that can help plants adapt to prolonged water stress.

Researchers from Boyce Thompson Institute and Cornell University have conducted the first spatiotemporal study of the effects of prolonged water stress on tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) fruits, identifying genes that could help plant breeders develop fruit crops that can adapt to drought conditions. The researchers looked at gene expression in tomato leaves and six fruit organs (pericarp, placenta, septum, columella, jelly and seeds) at two different timepoints (growing and ripe fruit) and under four different water stress conditions (none, mild, intermediate and strong). It was found that each of the fruit organ tissues changed in unique ways over time.
Published in the December issue of Plant Physiology, the work was led by the research team of Carmen Catalá, an assistant professor at BTI and a Senior Research Associate in the School of Integrative Plant Science (SIPS) at Cornell. Collaborating researchers include Jocelyn Rose, a professor in SIPS, and BTI professors Jim Giovannoni, Zhangjun Fei and Lukas Mueller, who are also adjunct professors in SIPS.