Evaluating the Effects of Kin Recognition Under Controlled Conditions
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Roots are the primary route for water and nutrient uptake in plants. Neighboring plants compete for these nutrients and adjust their root system architecture (RSA) and total body plan accordingly. The degree to which the RSA is modified depends on the identity of these competitors. Many plants are capable of ‘kin recognition’ (KR), i.e. the ability to distinguish genetic relatedness among conspecifics1. These studies have established that KR induces obvious phenotypic changes to the RSA2. Little is known about the molecular mechanisms associated with the KR response. Our lab is attempting to identify the metabolomic, proteomic, and genomic elements associated with KR in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Hypothesis: Competitive interactions between plants of the same ecotype (KIN) versus those between members of different ecotypes (STRANGER) results in differential protein expression. Significance: Characterizing proteins which are differentially expressed during KR will help to identify the elements associated with detection of and response to competitors.