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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Kearneysville, West Virginia » Appalachian Fruit Research Laboratory » Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection » Research » Research Project #432594

Research Project: Optimizing Root Growth in Dicotyledonous Plants by Altering DEEPER ROOTING Gene Activities

Location: Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection

Project Number: 8080-21000-029-08-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Mar 1, 2017
End Date: Feb 28, 2019

The proposed project aims to determine the role of DEEPER ROOTING (DRO) genes in shaping root system architecture in fruit trees. The objectives for this project are to: 1) characterize the phenotypic effects of changes in expression of DRO genes with and without hormone treatment, 2) determine expression, localization, and interactors of these genes, and 3) determine their effect on drought tolerance. Together, the proposed project will uncover the mechanism underlying DRO function and determine whether we can use DRO expression to optimize root growth in different soil types.

The project will use Arabidopsis thaliana, Prunus domesticus (plum), and Malus domestica (apple) as study systems to determine the role of DRO genes in root system architecture. Using Arabidopsis, we will carry out fine genetic and molecular analysis to elucidate the mechanisms underlying DRO function. Using what we learn from Arabidopsis, we will carry out comparative studies in plum and apple to understand the effect of DRO genes on root architecture in relevant dicotyledonous crop species. These studies will allow us to determine the conservation of DRO function, as well as gain insight into the usefulness of DRO manipulation as a tool to rationally manipulate root systems in crops.