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Molecular analysis of potato tuber dormancy

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Molecular analysis of potato tuber dormancy: Potato tuber dormancy is a physiological adaptation to intermittent periods of environmental limitations. The survival mechanism is a form of endodormancy and is regulated by the five major plant growth regulators. Cytokinins play a central role in both the onset of tuber initiation and apical bud growth, but the internal mechanisms of these processes are only beginning to be understood. It is currently necessary to store tubers post-harvest at cold temperatures to impose ecodormancy; a way of prolonging the dormant state for commercial effectiveness. Cultivated potato varieties have a well characterized range of dormancy ratings but as of yet there are no predictive methods to estimate the length of dormancy for particular genotypes with reasonable accuracy. A recent discovery, the StCKP1 gene, has given new insights into the mechanisms of the dormancy cycle. The expression of StCKP1 has been shown to control the duration of dormancy: lowering expression shortens, and over-expression is sufficient to extend dormancy. The StCKP1 protein binds cytokinin, the hormone responsible for reactivating tuber buds. StCKP1 protein accumulates just before the onset of dormancy, likely sequestering cytokinin and so locking the apex of the stolon and all its buds in the dormant state. The project will take this knowledge further by establishing the absolute relationship between StCKP1 protein levels, and its expression, with different stages of tuber dormancy and potato genotypes. With this we aim to provide the industry with methods of measuring the duration of dormancy for tubers in storage or during the screening of novel potato lines.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Research Seminars series.

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