The aim of the SeedAdapt project is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of fruit/seed-related early-life history traits that evolved in annual plant species as adaptations to abiotic stresses. Higher plant dispersal units - diaspores, here: fruits and seeds - support the distribution and early life history of the progeny. Our project will use a comparative approach to understand the dimorphic diaspore (fruit/seed) syndromes produced on the same plant of annual Aethionema species (sister of all core Brassicaceae, cabbage family) and provide distinct adaptations as a dormancy bet-hedging strategy. The availibility of the Aethionema arabicum genome will facilitate our comparative investigation of the epigenomes, hormonomes and transcriptomes in relation to abiotic stress during sensitive developmental processes. We propose that investigating the regulatory basis of fruit, seed, and seedling trait diversity is ideal for integrating new technologies and complementary expertise in order to study a field with utmost importance in ecology, evolution, seed industry and crop breeding.
Dimorphic fruits, seeds and seedlings as adaptation mechanisms to abiotic stress in unpredictable environments