Title

Differences in the Growth of Offspring From Sunflowers of Different Water Treatments

Presenter Information

Casey Croshaw
Terisa Sunwar

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Ballroom C/D

Start Date

16-5-2013

End Date

16-5-2013

Abstract

Plants may respond to environmental stress through epigenetic modification, which is altering gene expression without a change in DNA sequence. Epigenetic effects may be adaptive if they are heritable and preadapt future generations to the environment. This research tested for adaptive epigenetic effects of drought by growing four inbred lines of sunflower (Helianthus annuus) under high water and low water (drought) treatments for two generations. Survivorship and several morphological traits were measured weekly in seedlings of the offspring generation. Preliminary results suggest that the parental water treatment strongly affects plant height. Offspring from the high water environment were taller on average than offspring from the drought treatment, indicating that the parental water treatment can alter offspring phenotype. Interestingly, if offspring and parents experienced the same low water treatment, the plants were taller than if they had experienced low water in the parental generation and high water in the offspring generation. These results suggest that sunflower may be able to preadapt offspring in response to drought conditions through epigenetic modification. The agricultural implications of this study are that sunflower farmers need to know the environment that the parental plants were grown in to get the best crop yield for their seeds.

Poster Number

23

Faculty Mentor(s)

Jennifer Dechaine

Additional Mentoring Department

Biological Sciences

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May 16th, 8:20 AM May 16th, 10:50 AM

Differences in the Growth of Offspring From Sunflowers of Different Water Treatments

SURC Ballroom C/D

Plants may respond to environmental stress through epigenetic modification, which is altering gene expression without a change in DNA sequence. Epigenetic effects may be adaptive if they are heritable and preadapt future generations to the environment. This research tested for adaptive epigenetic effects of drought by growing four inbred lines of sunflower (Helianthus annuus) under high water and low water (drought) treatments for two generations. Survivorship and several morphological traits were measured weekly in seedlings of the offspring generation. Preliminary results suggest that the parental water treatment strongly affects plant height. Offspring from the high water environment were taller on average than offspring from the drought treatment, indicating that the parental water treatment can alter offspring phenotype. Interestingly, if offspring and parents experienced the same low water treatment, the plants were taller than if they had experienced low water in the parental generation and high water in the offspring generation. These results suggest that sunflower may be able to preadapt offspring in response to drought conditions through epigenetic modification. The agricultural implications of this study are that sunflower farmers need to know the environment that the parental plants were grown in to get the best crop yield for their seeds.