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Abstract Detail


Zavala Paez, Michelle Estefania [1], Hainlen, David [2], Kittilson, Jeff [2], Hamilton, Jill [3].

Identifying biomarkers for stress in long-lived trees: the role of telomere length.

Understanding species response to stress is a major goal across diverse biological disciplines. For trees, this is particularly important as they can be challenged by abiotic and biotic stresses due to their long-lived life history. Thus, identifying biomarkers that quantify response to abiotic and biotic environments are increasingly valuable as they provide the information needed to accelerate decision-making in species management and conservation. One important biomarker in this context could be telomeres. Telomeres are heritable sequences of repetitive, non-coding DNA found at the tips of the chromosomes that act to enhance genomic integrity and typically shorten during the course of normal cell division. However, recently, attrition related to stress exposure indicate that trade-offs may exist in the maintenance of telomere length in response to life-history variation, disease susceptibility, and aging. Despite their potential role as biomarkers for stress few studies to date have examined telomere length dynamics in plants, and none within long-lived trees species. Populus provides an ideal biological system to assess telomere dynamics owing to its relatively small genome size, ease of clonal vegetative propagation, and economic importance as a source for lignocellulosic biomass. In this study, we will leverage clonally-replicated Poplar common garden experiments to ask what is the rate of telomere loss among the different tissue types? and what is the level of telomere attrition for Poplar clones planted across novel environments? Using genotypes of Populus trichocarpa, P. balsamifera, and their hybrids planted across North America we will quantify the role genetic variation, environmental variation and their interactions may have to telomere dynamics. We will develop a standardized protocol to measure telomere length in Poplars, combining qPCR and bioinformatic approaches. We hypothesize that telomere sequences and composition are conserved between the two species and their hybrids, but length may vary in response to environment. We predict that telomere loss may vary across tissue types and will be most notable in actively growing meristematic tissue. In addition, we predict climate transfer distance will correlate with telomere length loss, providing a metric to quantify trade-offs between the maintenance of genome integrity and exposure to novel environments. These data will provide fundamental information on the role telomere length dynamics may have to quantifying trade-offs associated with the maintenance of genomic integrity and adaptation needed for species management and conservation in forest trees.

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1 - 1844 10th Street North, Apt 213, 213, Fargo, ND, 58102, United States
2 - North Dakota State University, Biological Sciences, 1340 Bolley Drive, 201 Stevens Hall, Fargo, ND, 58102, Estados Unidos
3 - North Dakota State University, Biological Sciences, PO Box 6050, Dept. 2715, Fargo, ND, 58102, United States

telomere length
genomic integrity
abiotic and biotic stress.

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P1, Ecology Posters
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Monday, July 19th, 2021
Time: 5:00 PM(EDT)
Number: P1EC008
Abstract ID:246
Candidate for Awards:None

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