INVESTIGATING ARABIDOPSIS CELL WALL MUTANTS’ SALT TOLERANCE CAN LEAD TO FUTURE UNDERSTANDING OF HOW TO IMPROVE DROUGHT TOLERANCE FOR OTHER CROPS
Gustavo Garcia Jr., Dawn Chiniquy, Shauna Somerville.
University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA.
Drought will increasingly become more devastating to agriculture as the effects of global warming continue to develop. Recent studies have found that by mid-century, 1,100 counties in the United States will face even higher risks of water shortages. Finding a way to increase drought tolerance in crops can help counties that are at high risk of drought reduced crop yield loss. The plant cell wall regulates water porosity and also elongation of roots. Therefore, we are investigating if a change of cell wall composition leads to greater resistance to drought conditions. We are examining the weight of cell wall mutant seedlings after treatment in media with various salt concentrations (0, 100, 130, and 160 mM NaCl) compared to wild type to determine water retention after salt treatments. Additionally, we will be measuring root length after salt treatment. This ongoing project may show mutants have better water retention and root elongation by finding they have more seedling weight and longer roots after treatment. Exposure of Arabidopsis cell wall mutants to salt stress conditions tests resilience of their unique cell wall that can help further the understanding of the biological mechanisms used in combating substantial drought conditions. Ultimately, the findings in Arabidopsis can be applied to other crop plants to improve their tolerance to drought as it is an excellent model species for all plants.