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Abstract Detail

Seed Biology

Dechaine, Jennifer M [1], Weinig, Cynthia [2].

Multiple phytochromes mediate progeny germination responses to temperature and light quality in the maternal environment.

A maternal effect is defined as the influence a maternal plant has on her progeny beyond the equal chromosome contribution expected from each parent. Effects of the maternal environment on seed germination are well documented, but their genetic basis is poorly understood. One aspect of the maternal environment that influences germination is the ratio of red to far-red light (R:FR) experienced by the maternal plant during seed development. This effect likely regulates germination under competitive conditions, as chlorophyll in neighboring plants selectively absorbs light in the red region of the spectrum while transmitting far-red light. In Arabidopsis thaliana, phytochromes A, B, and E mediate germination in response to R:FR, but the role of phytochrome genes in regulating maternal effects is largely unknown. In addition, recent evidence suggests that the effects of each phytochrome are highly dependent on temperature. We examined germination responses in seeds of transgenic and null mutant A. thaliana plants that had been matured under high and low temperature and R:FR treatments, in order to elucidate the roles of each phytochrome gene in regulating the effect of the maternal environment on progeny germination. We found strong effects of the maternal treatment on progeny germination percentage and timing and these effects varied greatly among phytochrome mutants. Our results suggest that phytochromes are involved in mediating germination timing in competitive environments and partially elucidate one of the first known genetic pathways to underlie maternal effects.

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1 - University of Minnesota, Plant Biology, 250 Biological Sciences Center, 1445 Gortner Ave, Saint Paul, MN, 55108, USA
2 - University of Minnesota, Plant Biology

Transgenerational effects
seed germination
Light quality

Presentation Type: Plant Biology Abstract
Session: P
Location: Exhibit Hall (Northeast, Southwest & Southeast)/Hilton
Date: Sunday, July 8th, 2007
Time: 8:00 AM
Number: P29018
Abstract ID:1472

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