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Title: The effects of elevated carbon dioxide concentration on leaf growth and development in Populus
Author: Graham, Laura Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0001 3509 9504
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2008
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The composition of the Earth’s atmosphere is changing. Such changes can largely be attributed either directly or indirectly to anthropogenic activities. However, the effects that these changes will have on terrestrial vegetation in the future, represents an area of great uncertainty. The results that have been published in the literature have generally concluded that elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration ([eCO2]) causes increased above- and below-ground biomass compared to ambient conditions. Members of the Populus genus have risen to the forefront of plant research into the effects of [eCO2]. Members of the genus are extremely fast-growing, making them suitable candidates for use as biomass energy crops. The Populus trichocarpa sequence was released in 2006, hence unveiling a huge genetic resource to the plant science community. Although a large amount of studies to date have been dedicated to the effects of [eCO2] on plant growth, few have focussed on the underlying genetic basis of the changes. However, thanks to the genetic resources that are now freely available, this has now been addressed. In the series of experiments presented in this thesis a combination of morphological measurements, gene expression and protein studies were used to assess the effects of [eCO2] on Populus leaves. The results of the studies presented here have shown that there were some differences in various aspects of plant growth as a result of [eCO2], although the magnitude of the response was lower than has been reported previously in the literature. However, there were rather few changes in transcript expression (as assessed by microarrays) due to [eCO2]. This conclusion was reproducible across different microarray platforms. This result was further confirmed by a proteomics experiment, which showed that there were no proteins whose abundance differed significantly between ambient and elevated [CO2]. It is possible that [eCO2] causes an additive effect on gene expression and hence the sensitivity of the techniques was such that these differences could not be identified. However, it may be possible that the plants demonstrate a plastic response to [eCO2] and that the techniques used to assess the response were inappropriate in this case. In such an instance, more targeted studies on particular biosynthetic pathways of interest (such as cell wall biosynthesis) may be more appropriate for any future trials.
Supervisor: Taylor, Gail Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: GE Environmental Sciences ; QH301 Biology