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BHSU biologists present research at national conference

 Jake Alsdurk, BHSU graduate student, presented research on drought-induced transgenerational effects in plants at the 10th annual Ecological Genomics symposium in Kansas City, Mo.
Faculty and students from Black Hills State University’s Integrative Genomics program recently presented their research at the 10th annual Ecological Genomics symposium in Kansas City, Mo. Jake Alsdurf, graduate student, and Tayler Ripley,junior biology major, presented their work on drought-induced transgenerational effects in plants.

Alsdurf received a National Science Foundation travel award to attend the symposium based on the merits of his research, according to Dr.David Siemens, BHSU associate professor of biology, who also attended the conference.

“The students presented two studies,” Siemens said. The first study was a collaboration between the two students and showed that plants whose parents experienced drought were more drought tolerant but produced lower levels of defensive compounds, Siemens said.

The second study, presented by Alsdurf, showed that transgenerational effects of drought probably involved differential methylation of DNA, Siemens said.

The group hopes to eventually find the genes involved in the co-regulation of drought tolerance and defense.

Siemens said they are working on wild populations of weedy mustard plants that are native to the Black Hills, but their work should eventually have agricultural and conservation applications.

“Our primary interest is on mechanisms that constrain the evolution of plant geographic range,” he said.



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