Title

The Effects of Light Environment and DNA Methylation on Phenotypic Plasticity in Arabidopsis thaliana

Presenter Information

Rachel Walters
Anthony Marrese

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Ballroom C/D

Start Date

15-5-2014

End Date

15-5-2014

Keywords

DNA Methylation, Phenotypic plasticity, Arabidopsis thaliana

Abstract

Phenotypic plasticity is the ability of an organism to change its phenotype (expressed characteristics) in response to its environment. For example, plants with the same genotype may respond differently to shading stress due to variation in expression of shade tolerance genes among individuals. These variations in gene expression may be controlled by DNA methylation. The effect of DNA methylation on phenotypic plasticity is poorly understood. Understanding how DNA methylation affects plant response to the environment is important because it has far reaching consequences for plant adaptation to new environments and implications for crop improvement. In this study, we examined how DNA methylation affects plant phenotypic plasticity to different shading environments. We treated lines of Arabidopsis thaliana plants with a de-methylating agent (5-azacytidine), and then grew treated and untreated (control) individuals under two light conditions: 1) simulated foliar shade (green lighting filters); and 2) neutral shade (white lighting filters). After flowering, DNA extractions were conducted to gather DNA in order to quantify the amount of methylation present in plants across light treatments and methylation groups.

Poster Number

28

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dechaine, Jennifer

Additional Mentoring Department

Biological Sciences

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May 15th, 8:30 AM May 15th, 11:00 AM

The Effects of Light Environment and DNA Methylation on Phenotypic Plasticity in Arabidopsis thaliana

SURC Ballroom C/D

Phenotypic plasticity is the ability of an organism to change its phenotype (expressed characteristics) in response to its environment. For example, plants with the same genotype may respond differently to shading stress due to variation in expression of shade tolerance genes among individuals. These variations in gene expression may be controlled by DNA methylation. The effect of DNA methylation on phenotypic plasticity is poorly understood. Understanding how DNA methylation affects plant response to the environment is important because it has far reaching consequences for plant adaptation to new environments and implications for crop improvement. In this study, we examined how DNA methylation affects plant phenotypic plasticity to different shading environments. We treated lines of Arabidopsis thaliana plants with a de-methylating agent (5-azacytidine), and then grew treated and untreated (control) individuals under two light conditions: 1) simulated foliar shade (green lighting filters); and 2) neutral shade (white lighting filters). After flowering, DNA extractions were conducted to gather DNA in order to quantify the amount of methylation present in plants across light treatments and methylation groups.