2024 Undergraduate Research Showcase

Is the Sagebrush Genome Built Different?: Investigating Gene Regulation in Stress Response

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Sven Buerki


Phenotypic plasticity refers to an organism’s capacity for rapid modifications of gene expression. This allows it to respond to different environmental pressures and express phenotypes that are adapted to increase their survival rate in the face of climate change. The purpose of this poster is to discuss the potential mechanisms underpinning phenotypic plasticity in plants, particularly Sagebrush (Artemisa tridentata). Its ability to survive in specific arid environments and respond to diverse and extreme climate conditions is one reason that makes it unique. Another aspect that makes it distinct and important, is being a keystone species which supports hundreds of other organisms within its ecosystem. The level of phenotypic plasticity has been shown to vary between individuals from different geographical locations, and the mechanisms that drive this phenotypic plasticity are unknown. This study aims to characterize a potential candidate known as high mobility proteins, which may drive regulatory mechanisms associated with phenotypic plasticity. These proteins show promise for being an important regulator to allow Sagebrush to shift its response to climate conditions by altering gene expression at the pre-transcriptional level. The research of these systems and realization of how they work has vast implications for understanding how plants respond to drought and the changing global climate.

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