Date of Award

Spring 4-27-2020

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Biological Sciences

Department Chair or Program Director

Lewis, Lynn

First Advisor

Wynn, April

Second Advisor

Waters, Parrish

Third Advisor

Dolby, Andrew

Major or Concentration



As climate change continues to destabilize precipitation and temperature regimes for economically significant crops that we consume daily, the global supply of agricultural products may become limited. This purpose of this study was to determine if climate change may affect developmental and stress response regulatory gene networks. By examining the crosstalk between the floral developmental program and the environmental stress response program in Arabidopsis thaliana, we were able to determine key genes that integrate the inputs of these two pathways to affect plant reproductive development. Gene expression was examined in four genotypes of plants (Col-0, cor413, erd10, and seu) grown in three conditions (optimal, cold and drought). I expected to see increases in the expression of all three genes compared to the wild type control under both stressful conditions. qRT-PCR analysis was used to compare gene expression of two environmental stress response genes,COR413 and ERD10, as well as the developmental gene SEU between the genotypes and growth conditions. Fertilized ovule counts were also analyzed. I expected to see increased ovule numbers in all of the mutants under stressful conditions. The results show that growth in cold conditions raises the levels of all three genes significantly. This indicates that the drought response gene ERD10 is responsive to temperature stress and that genes for ovule development respond to environmental stress. Fertilized ovule counts also revealed a significant difference in the number of mutant ovules compared to the wild type control, which further indicates that the interaction between the environmental stress pathway and the developmental pathway result in alterations in plant development and reproductive ability.

Included in

Biology Commons