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"Profiling individual field-grown plants to reverse engineer plant molecular systems and their impact on yield phenotypes"

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Thursday 29 November 2018, 11:00 - 12:30


In the face of world population growth and climate change, global food security will increasingly depend on our ability to design crops with higher yield and higher tolerance to environmental stresses. Plant stress responses are mostly studied individually using controlled perturbations in the lab, but in a field, plants are continuously exposed to diverse stress factors acting in concert, and a plant's response to such combined stresses cannot easily be inferred from its response to single stress factors. We use a new experimental setup to study plant stress responses and their phenotypic consequences in the field, involving profiling of the transcriptome, metabolome, micro-environment and phenotypes of individual field-grown plants of the same inbred line. We obtained proof of concept in maize and Brassica napus that the subtle uncontrolled combinations of stresses that occur in such a setting yield valuable information on the molecular wiring of the stress responses concerned. We use machine learning to interconnect the different data layers and construct predictive models of plant phenotypes as a function of the plants’ transcript and metabolite profiles. The aim of these models is to get more insight into the molecular pathways impacting plant phenotypes in the field, and how they interact.

Location Jozef Schell Seminar Room
Contact Prof Steven Maere
VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology