Physiological and Transcriptomic Evaluation of Water Stress Response in Banana

Date: Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Time: 11:30 AM
Room: Pacific Salon 6-7 (2nd Floor)
Joanna Jankowicz-Cieslak , International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria
Marcin Rapacz , University of Agriculture in Krakow,, Krakow, Poland
Silvia Fluch , Austrian Institute of Technology, Tulln, Austria
Maria Berenyi , Austrian Institute of Technology, Tulln, Austria
Elisabeth Wischnitzki , Austrian Institute of Technology, Tulln, Austria
Chikelu Mba , Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy
Bradley J. Till , International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria
The FAO estimates that 70% more food must be produced over the next four decades to nourish a human population projected to exceed 9 billion by the year 2050. One main constraint in achieving this is extreme and changing weather conditions. Prolonged drought periods and water scarcity affect yields of crops grown in all climate zones. The genus Musa is a staple crop for more than 400 million people in developing countries and production is endangered by a range of biotic and abiotic stresses including inadequate water supply. We are developing strategies that combine induced and natural mutations, physiological screening, and various “omics” approaches aimed at enhancing the functional genomics and breeding of banana and plantain. We have used TILLING to investigate the density and inheritance of induced mutant alleles. Mutagenesis was performed by isolating apical meristems and treating with EMS. The average density of induced point mutations was 1 per 57 kb in triploid Grande Naine. To evaluate drought stress, we recorded physiological responses among 36 accessions and identified transcript differences in stressed and non-stressed plants. Interestingly, no trend was observed between response type and genome composition or ploidy. We are now developing amplicon sequencing approaches utilizing the sequenced banana genomes to evaluate nucleotide diversity in the tested accessions. Through a combination of genotyping and reverse-genetics, we aim to broaden our understanding of the genetic basis of water stress response in Musa.