Iowa State University scientists have harnessed data analytics to look “under the hood” of the mechanisms. This will determine how genetics and changing environmental conditions interact during crucial developmental stages of plants.
The study has been published in the academic scientific journal New Phytologist. It has focused on how changes in temperature affect the height of sorghum plants. Scientists said, research could help to breed more resilient crops. It has also shed light on mechanisms that play a critical role in plant growth. The study revolves around the concept of phenotypic plasticity. A plant may grow to a different height in a dry environment. A plant with identical genetics that grows in a wet environment.
Scientists are trying to understand plasticity which will also help them to crop varieties that will perform well under a range of environmental conditions. Scientists have focused only at the final mature traits of plants paints an incomplete picture of plasticity. The new research found out the growth rate of sorghum during a critical stage of development. It was between 40 and 53 days after planting. Scientists zeroed on the on that rapid-growth phase in the plant’s life cycle. It has allowed the researchers to examine the mechanisms that govern sorghum’s phenotypic plasticity in detail.
Scientists collected data on sorghum. This is a globally cultivated cereal crop. Scientists have measured plant height at several points during the growing season. Scientists have also created a large dataset and applied statistical regression analyses. They wanted to understand better the relationship between height and diurnal temperature change.
Scientists found out increases in diurnal temperature change produced shorter plants. It was distinct during critical developmental phase around 40 to 53 days after planting.
Plasticity and climate change
Climate change increases the need to understand phenotypic plasticity. climate change causes volatile swings in weather. Farmers need better tools to understand how crop varieties perform under different environmental conditions. Scientists think, climate change could cause night time temperatures to rise. It will have significant ramifications for cultivating crops.
Scientists researched phenotypic plasticity which will allow farmers to develop more precise tools to predict how crops will perform in different environmental conditions.