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Early seed development responses in cereals under environmental stresses

Kevin Begcy Padilla, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Plants are influenced by a large number of environmental factors. The search for higher yields at lower costs requires detailed knowledge of physiology, biochemistry, molecular and genetic level of plants, in order to optimize the relationship between different factors of production for maximum performance. Reproductive development has been demonstrated to be especially highly sensitive to environmental stresses. Within environmental stresses, drought and heat stress are the major restrictors of food production worldwide. With decreasing supplies of freshwater, increase in average temperature and predictions for the increased frequency of extreme precipitation events, there is a critical need for developing crops that are more adaptive to changing environmental conditions. In angiosperm, seed development is a fundamental process during its life cycle. It is initiated by a double fertilization process and culminates with the formation of a mature seed. Seed development may be subdivided into different stages, early development, differentiation and maturation. Early seed development is an essential process since it is determinant for final seed size and weight in cereals. In this work, molecular, physiological, genomic and genetic approaches were used to elucidate cereal responses during early seed development under environmental conditions. A characterization of a member of the polycomb repressive complex in rice, Fertilization independent endosperm 1 under heat stress showed that early rice seed development is highly sensitive to heat stress and results in seed size reduction. Furthermore, new evidence on how water stress impact early seed developmental and the underlying molecular pathways that can possibly impact both grain size and quality in wheat is presented. Finally, morphological and physiological characterizations of the subsequent generation of heat stressed rice seeds during early seed are reported. Together, the work presented in this dissertation aimed to investigate how environmental stresses perturbs seed development and ultimately affects productivity in cereals.

Subject Area

Agronomy|Molecular biology|Bioinformatics

Recommended Citation

Padilla, Kevin Begcy, "Early seed development responses in cereals under environmental stresses" (2015). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3739271.