The effect of water deficit on the growth rate of cer10 Arabidopsis thaliana mutants

Alexandra Ensing, Emily Gerson, Kimmy Hofer, Olivia Tanuseputra


Arabidopsis thaliana (A. thaliana) is a vascular plant which can be found in a large range of habitats, partly due to its ability to regulate non-stomatal water loss using cuticular waxes. A mutation in the cer10 gene shows a reduction in the cuticular wax load. The effect of this mutation on the water deficit tolerance of A. thaliana was tested by measuring the growth rate in response to changes in soil water content of four groups; watered (control) wild-type, watered mutant, water deficit (experimental) wild-type, and water deficit mutant, (0.791 cm2/day (±0.0649), 0.255 cm2/day (±0.124), 0.607 cm2/day (±0.126), and 0.134 cm2/day (±0.085), respectively). Plants were incubated at 25°C with eight-hour light and dark cycles. Watered and not-watered plants showed no significant differences in growth rate (p=0.116). Mutant plants in both experimental and control groups showed a significantly lower growth rate than the wild-type plants (p=4.79x10-5), suggesting the mutant is more prone to water stress than the wild type. We observed no statistically significant interaction between water deficit and the presence of the mutation in the cer10 gene on the growth rate of A. thaliana (p=0.734). The cer10 mutant has been shown to exhibit increased non-stomatal water loss, and thus it is likely that the mutant seedlings had a more drastic decreased growth response when subject to water deficit.

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