Friday seminar: Conquerors of the cold: Evolution of adaptations to cold climates in the temperate grass subfamily Pooideae
By Siri Fjellheim from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences
During the past 50 million years, climate cooling has triggered the expansion of temperate biomes. During this period, many extant plant lineages in temperate biomes evolved from tropical ancestors and adapted to seasonality and cool conditions. The temperate, continental and Arctic grass flora is dominated by members of the subfamily Pooideae. The Pooideae subfamily contains the most important crops cultivated in the temperate regions including wheat (Triticum aestivum) and barley (Hordeum vulgare) as well as forage grasses like perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne). Due to the need of well-adapted cultivars in food production, extensive research has produced a large body of knowledge about the mechanisms underlying cold adaptation in cultivated Pooideae species. However, little is known about how these mechanisms evolved in the Pooideae and how this has contributed to the dominance of this sub-family in the grass flora at high latitudes. Here, I will present insights into the evolution of cold adaptations in Pooideae gained from projects encompassing large scale growth experiments, physiology and transcriptomics.
Faculty of Biosciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås NO-1432, Norway