Characterization of drought tolerance in Arabidopsis mutant fry1-6

(1) Lee County High School, 1 Trojan Way, Leesburg, GA 31763, (2) Albany State University, 504 College Drive, Albany, GA 31705

Drought resistance is a beneficial trait for plants, especially crops, as it allows survival in conditions of low water. Current environmental trends point toward an increased occurrence of drought, while the increasing world population requires more food production. Therefore, drought resistance is a desirable trait in crops. Arabidopsis thaliana mutant fiery1 (fry1-1 and alx8) was previously reported to be drought resistant. In this study, we tested and confirmed that a different mutant allele, fry1-6, also exhibited drought resistance capabilities and survived longer than wild-type plants when watering ceases. We sought to discover the cause of the drought resistance of the fry1-6 mutant. To this end, we compared differences between wild-type and fry1-6 plants in the transpiration rate under simulated drought conditions, number of stomata per unit leaf area, rate of water loss from cut-off leaves, and water content within soil. Our results revealed that there are no significant differences in those traits, except that fry1-6 plants withstand drier soil conditions than wild-type plants. Overall, our data suggest that the number of stomata and the transpiration rate are not the primary reasons for the drought resistance of fry1-6 plants.

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biology ecology botany genetics