“Exploring salt stress on Arabidopsis thaliana growth with DUF247 genes”
Salt stress is detrimental to plant growth. Climate change, floods, irrigation, runoff, and silting all introduce increased amounts of salt into the soil that pose a serious threat to the survival of plants. With our growing population, along with unstable food security, the need for improvements in agriculture is increasing. In a previous study, it was observed that the natural variation in salt stress-induced changes in root-to-shoot ratio corresponds to a locus-encoding domain of unknown function gene, AT3G50160, within the DUF247 family. However, the identified DUF247 locus contains other DUF247 genes that share high sequence similarity to our prime candidate, AT3G50160. Our objective is to determine the physiological relevance of the AT3G50160 gene, as well as its neighboring genes, in response to salt stress by observing the root system architecture on plates and rosette size in soil. By understanding which genes contribute to salt stress tolerance, we can engineer plants that are more resilient to high concentrations of salt.
Throughout my summer at BTI, I was able to better understand what it’s like to work in a research environment and what I would like to do in the future. In such a supportive and friendly lab, with Hayley Sussman as my mentor, I was able to grow with their expertise while also feeling comfortable with making mistakes along the way. I got to improve on relevant skills, such as communication and time management, as well as learn how to use a lot of new research tools, such as ImageJ and R. This internship has allowed me to greatly expand my knowledge and I am looking forward to applying what I learned later on. Having this opportunity to further explore the world of science is an experience I will always be grateful for.