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Synchronization of senescence in Arabidopsis thaliana

Is floral senescence synchronized across accessions of Arabidopsis thaliana?

Plants are known to synchronize their reproduction in response to favourable environmental conditions to promote the survival of offspring. Synchronization of flowering is commonly observed to ensure successful pollination, as well as successful seed maturation and dispersal. Synchronized timing of these events is particularly important for annual plants, as they complete their life cycle in a single year. Many studies have shown that the degree of flowering synchrony is an ecological trait that affects a plant’s reproductive success. Floral senescence synchrony on the other hand has received less attention and the effects of the environment on patterns of senescence and seed production are not well understood.

One of the recombinant inbred line plants used in this study. Image credit: M. Miryeganeh

In her new study published in AoBP, Matin Miryeganeh investigates whether initiation of flowering and flowering termination are synchronized over the course of a growing season for 4 early-flowering Arabidopsis thaliana accessions. She found that groups of same age plants sown 4 weeks apart were not synchronized for initiation of flowering time but were synchronized when it came to floral senescence. Genetic control of senescence (or termination of flowering) may have implications for crop improvement, as one might be able to change the balance between the production of flowers and seeds and the allocation of resources to leaves during the process of seed loading. With this in mind, Matin hopes to continue her work using finer-scale genomic tools to identify candidate genes related to senescence synchrony.

Researcher highlight

Matin Miryeganeh grew up in north Iran next to Caspian Sea. She got her Bachelor and Master degree in two of top national universities in Iran and in 2009 she was granted a PhD scholarship from Japanese government and moved to Japan to conduct a PhD in plant phylogeography and plant population genetics at The University of Chiba. She then moved to Kyoto University for 2.5 years postdoctoral program in 2013.  Matin then moved to Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST), for her current postdoc position where she was rewarded a fellowship from Japan Society of Promotion of Science (a very competitive fellowship and grant from Japanese government).

Matin is a plant evolutionary ecologist and (epi-) geneticist and she is interested in finding the molecular mechanisms behind stress tolerant trees and modelling them to help plants in the face of climate change. Throughout her academic career, she has been fascinated by the ecology of plants, in particular how plants respond to environmental changes through phenotypic plasticity and molecular change. Currently, she studies the genomics and epigenomics of stress tolerant mangrove tress and is looking into how these plants sense and respond to stressful environmental signals, cyclic signals, and how these responses contribute to local adaptation. Matin is mainly interested in studying plant in their natural environment instead of modified lab experiments.

Matin is also an athletic runner and is training for next Olympics. She runs every morning between 6-8am before going to work.

William Salter

William (Tam) Salter is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences and Sydney Institute of Agriculture at the University of Sydney. He has a bachelor degree in Ecological Science (Hons) from the University of Edinburgh and a PhD in plant ecophysiology from the University of Sydney. Tam is interested in the identification and elucidation of plant traits that could be useful for ecosystem resilience and future food security under global environmental change. He is also very interested in effective scientific communication.

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