Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 1, 2010
Publication Date: July 31, 2010
Citation: Oliver, M.J., Cushman, J.C., Sharp, R.R., Payton, P.R. 2010. An Integrated Approach to Identify and Deploy Novel Genetic Determinants From Resurrection Plants for Improved Dehydration Tolerance of Crops. Meeting Abstract. American Society of Plant Biologists, July 30 - August 4, 2010, Montreal, Canada. 2010 CDROM. Technical Abstract: An understanding of plant responses to dehydration has important consequences not only for plant biology in general but also more directly for agriculture and bioenergy. Over 10% of arable lands are affected by drought and salinity, declining average yields for most crops by more than 50%. In 2000 crop losses due to drought were estimated to exceed $4 billon (Mittler, R.  Trends in Plant Science. 11:15-19). Thus, improving drought tolerance is a critical priority area for agricultural research agencies. Understanding how plant cells tolerate water loss is a vital prerequisite for developing strategies for improving drought tolerance and maintaining biomass. The objectives of our NIFA NRI (AFRI) Integrated Research Project are to: A. Develop/enhance courses on Plant Breeding, Plant Environmental Stress Physiology and Ecology at UNR and MU. Courses will exploit research materials and methods aimed at bridging the gap between genomics, physiology, and plant breeding: 1) Identify novel genetic determinants involved in desiccation tolerance from two vascular, desiccation tolerant resurrection species, Selaginella lepidophylla and Sporobolus stapfianus. 2) Define and compare the distinctive and signaling components in model plant and target crop species. B. Develop an integrated research and extension project using Sporobolus as a forage grass. Our studies have highlighted several important metabolic processes that are central to the acquisition of desiccation tolerance and we have several candidate genes in the testing pipeline. The usefulness of Sporobolus species for forage has been evaluated and we are currently engaged in establishing a breeding protocol.