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Researchers in Japan Identify Genes to Help Crops Against Flooding
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: October 13, 2022 10:06AM

Flooding has become a global concern, putting people at risk of
starvation due to water drowning crops. Now, researchers are getting
closer to identifying the molecular processes underlying how floods
deprive plants of oxygen ?? and how to engineer hardier crops.

??Hypoxia is an abiotic stress for plants often caused by flooding,? said
the paper's first author Keita Tamura. Hypoxia is a condition where
plants are deprived of oxygen because of oversaturation. The team from
Hiroshima University's Graduate School of Integrated Sciences for Life
has uncovered several common genesand their related mechanisms in
rice(/Oryza sativa/) and thale cress (/Arabidopsis thaliana/). The
researchers focused on rice and thale cress since the genetics of the
two plants have been extensively studied, providing ample amounts of
data. The research team identified 29 pairs of RNA-sequencing data for
thale cress and 26 pairs for rice for the plants in both normal oxygen
and oxygen-deprived states from the available datasets.

??By analyzing RNA-sequencing data of hypoxia treatments in thale cress
and rice, we identified 40 and 19 commonly upregulated and downregulated
genes in both species,? said corresponding author Hidesama Bono.
According to Bono, this common upregulation means that these molecular
machineries became more active during oxygen deprivation, indicating
their specific responsibilities for plant response. Bono and Tamura
compared the results of their study to a similar meta-analysis of
hypoxia in human cells and tissue samples. They found two of the
commonly upregulated genes in rice and thale cress were downregulated in
their human counterparts.

??Our meta-analysis suggests distinct molecular mechanisms under hypoxia
in plants and animals,? Bono said. ??The candidate genes identified in
this study are expected to elucidate novel molecular mechanisms of
hypoxia responses in plants. Ultimately, we plan to manipulate one of
the candidate genes through genome editing technology to create
flood-tolerant plants.?


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