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The Genetic Basis and Adaptive Significance of Natural Ionomic Variation

Final Report Summary - IONOMIC VARIATION (The Genetic Basis and Adaptive Significance of Natural Ionomic Variation)

Prof Salt has used genome-wide association (GWA) mapping to take advantage of the natural genetic diversity of Arabidopsis thaliana to allow the testing of multiple allelic variants of genes across many thousands of loci to perform a truly genome-scale analysis of function. This approach helps to overcome the problem of low throughput associated with assigning gene function using reverse genetics to test one gene at a time. Using such a genome-wide approach Prof Salt has identify loci that play an important role in regulating mineral nutrient and trace element uptake, translocation and accumulation in roots, leaves, and seeds from A. thaliana. The identification of natural allelic variants of genes that regulate the mineral nutrient and trace element content (aka ionome) of A. thaliana has also allowed Prof Salt to investigate the role these alleles play in the adaptation of A. thaliana to the varied edaphic conditions this species experiences across its broad and diverse habitat. This project has provided a foundation of basic knowledge on mineral nutrient homeostasis in plants, and allowed us to start to understand how natural variation in the genetic networks that regulate the ionome are involved in adaptation to varied edaphic factors. This information has started to be translated in rice to better facilitate improvements in crop performance and quality. To help in both the discovery of this information by the community and to assist in its dissemination the IonomicsAtlas web-based tool has been developed and intergrated into the Ionomics Hub (iHUB) that Prof Salt manages at www.ionomicshub.org.