Yu, Brian-Phosphate starvation in Eutrema salsugineum (Dr. Elizabeth Weretilnyk)

Phosphate starvation in Eutrema salsugineum 

Soil phosphate levels commonly restrict crop productivity. Furthermore,  crops are unable to take up much of the phosphate supplied by fertilizers,  and rock phosphate,  the natural resource that phosphate is derived from,  is being rapidly depleted. The Yukon ecotype of Eutrema salsugineum is extremely hardy with respect to phosphate use efficiency; however,  the mechanisms,  biochemical pathways,  and genes responsible for its high phosphate use efficiency remain undetermined. To this end,  Eutrema plants were grown at different phosphate regimes and collected from their native environment in the Yukon. Plants had their biomass and phenotypes were recorded. RNA was extracted from the frozen plant tissue and used for the synthesis of cDNA. PCR was used to examine the expression levels of a phosphate induced lncRNA. This allowed for comparison of phosphate starvation in wild plants compared to cabinet-grown plants. Results will help to elucidate the similarities between wild and cabinet-grown plants and if cabinet conditions effectively mirror those of wild plants. These results may also help to reveal any epigenetic effects of plants grown in cabinet conditions. Phosphate content of plants was also determined to see if there was any difference in the amount of phosphate in the plants or where it is being sequestered. These findings aid in determining the root of Eutrema’s high phosphate use efficiency.