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Title: Natural variation in root morphology and adaptation to soil conditions in Arabidopsis thaliana
Author: Mierzwińska, Monika Ewa
ISNI:       0000 0004 5914 7824
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2016
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Intraspecific variation within the genetic model plant Arabidopsis thaliana has been used to research numerous potentially adaptive and economically important traits. In this thesis I used this tool to investigate root morphology and adaptation of plants to edaphic conditions. Firstly I tested local adaptation of chosen A. thaliana wild genotypes collected from north eastern Scotland, to two soil types with contrasting textures. When local adaptation is defined as fitness advantage (reproductive output) in local soil, I did not find clear signs of local adaptation. Additionally, I observed significant phenotypic variation between collected accessions for both mineral nutrient uptake and growth in the two soil types. Together these results may suggest the mixing of adapted genotypes due to extensive human disturbance in north eastern Scotland. Secondly I focused on two linked aspects of root biology: endodermal development and root system architecture. The characteristic features of the endodermis include Casparian strips (CS) that form a barrier to apoplastic transport. Some mutants with an altered CS are sensitive to growth on media with elevated magnesium (Mg) and reduced calcium (Ca). In order to potentially identify novel alleles of genes involved in CS biosynthesis I took advantage of this growth phenotype and performed genome wide association (GWA) analysis on response of plants to low Ca/Mg ratio of the growth medium. As a result I compiled a list of genes for the future research by choosing candidate genes identified in the GWA study for both plant weight and elemental composition. This list was further refined using knowledge on gene expression in the endodermis. Accessions with the most extreme response to this low Ca/Mg treatment were analysed further. I identify a link between both lateral root number and total root length with performance on growth medium containing a low Ca/Mg ratio.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Aberdeen
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana ; Roots (Botany)