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European researchers investigated the molecular mechanisms that drive stress-related responses that cause aging and death in plants. The goal is to generate resilient crop varieties.
Unlike animals that can avoid stress, plants have evolved responses for evading factors that can be detrimental for growth and survival, environmental conditions and pathogens. This is often communicated through the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), by-products of aerobic metabolism.
ROS - Levels - Responses - Towards - Stress
Low ROS levels mediate the responses towards stress while at higher concentrations they may lead to programmed cell death. ROS also play a pivotal role during several developmental processes, including root hair growth and seed germination.
Scientists of the EU-funded Plantaging project wished to determine the role of ROS in plant senescence and aging and extend existing knowledge on the genetic determinants of the aging process. This was a collaborative undertaking between scientific groups from Bulgaria and New Zealand.
Studies - Years - Genes - Senescence - Alongside
Studies over the years have identified genes that accelerate senescence alongside others that delay senescence and thus extend lifespan. However, very little is known about how these genes interact and respond to specific environmental and developmental signals. In addition, the developmental stage of a plant also affects its ability to withstand adverse environmental conditions or initiate senescence.
Plantaging researchers employed Arabidopsis thaliana mutants with extended or shortened life span as well as plants with extreme tolerance to abiotic stress. Abiotic stress contributors mainly comprise...
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