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Type: Journal article
Title: Transgenerational effects of water-deficit and heat stress on germination and seedling vigour–new insights from durum wheat microRNAs
Author: Liu, H.
Able, A.J.
Able, J.A.
Citation: Plants, 2020; 9(2):189-1-189-20
Publisher: MDPI
Issue Date: 2020
ISSN: 2223-7747
Statement of
Haipei Liu, Amanda J. Able and Jason A. Able
Abstract: Water deficiency and heat stress can severely limit crop production and quality. Stress imposed on the parents during reproduction could have transgenerational effects on their progeny. Seeds with different origins can vary significantly in their germination and early growth. Here, we investigated how water-deficit and heat stress on parental durum wheat plants affected seedling establishment of the subsequent generation. One stress-tolerant and one stress-sensitive Australian durum genotype were used. Seeds were collected from parents with or without exposure to stress during reproduction. Generally, stress on the previous generation negatively affected seed germination and seedling vigour, but to a lesser extent in the tolerant variety. Small RNA sequencing utilising the new durum genome assembly revealed significant differences in microRNA (miRNA) expression in the two genotypes. A bioinformatics approach was used to identify multiple miRNA targets which have critical molecular functions in stress adaptation and plant development and could therefore contribute to the phenotypic differences observed. Our data provide the first confirmation of the transgenerational effects of reproductive-stage stress on germination and seedling establishment in durum wheat. New insights gained on the epigenetic level indicate that durum miRNAs could be key factors in optimising seed vigour for breeding superior germplasm and/or varieties.
Keywords: Abiotic stress; transgenerational effect; microRNA; seedling vigour; durum wheat; crop improvement
Rights: © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
RMID: 1000014172
DOI: 10.3390/plants9020189
Grant ID:
Appears in Collections:Agriculture, Food and Wine publications

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