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Biological Sciences

Research project: Using Next Generation Sequencing to understand acclimation and adaption of Plantago lanceolata to a changing environment

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Next generation sequencing (NGS) is a new technique which has created exciting opportunities in the field of genetic analysis. NGS allows for in depth analysis of plant species with no previous information required, enabling rapid evaluation of any of novel plant acclimations and adaptions and also enabling abundance and diversity in soil systems to be quantified. We are attempting to use this technology to investigate novel plant adaptions and acclimations to increased atmospheric CO2 in Plantago lanceolata, a species which lacks a reference genome.

Next generation sequencing (NGS) is a new technique which has created exciting opportunities in the field of genetic analysis.  Massively parallel genomic DNA and RNA sequencing offers considerable advantages beyond the use of gene expression microarrays. These new technologies have yet to be employed to any great extent in Environmental Biology but they are amenable to now address how plants and ecosystems show phenotypic plasticity in response to the changing environment and whether this results in adaptive change and evolution. Plant genomic responses to predicted climate change and altered soil biodiversity are two areas that can now be unravelled in a way not previously possible.

NGS allows for in depth analysis of plant species with no previous information required, enabling rapid evaluation of any of novel plant acclimations and adaptions and also enabling abundance and diversity in soil systems to be quantified. Given current and future climate scenarios, adaptions and acclimations to elevated atmospheric CO2 are of great interest. In this study, we are applying NGS techniques to investigate novel plant adaptions and acclimations to increased atmospheric CO2 in Plantago lanceolata, a species which lacks a reference genome. In this way, we hope to gain insights into how plants will respond to the atmospheric CO2 levels of the future.

Funding: NERC

Postgraduate students:  Alex Watson-Lazowski, Yunan Lin

Related research groups

Environmental Biosciences
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