Morphological defects in pine trees after the Fukushima accident: studying the underlying mechanisms at a molecular level

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    The Fukushima nuclear disaster released large quantities of radionuclides into the environment. This caused a widespread radiation contamination, affecting large regions of Japan. A high number of Pinus densiflora trees in contaminated areas displayed abnormal morphological characteristics, of which a loss of apical dominance was the most notable. In this project, the underlying mechanisms of radiation-induced loss of apical dominance are investigated by designing and testing primers for genes central to the maintenance of apical dominance such as phytohormone synthesis/transport, oxidative stress and DNA damage/repair. P. densiflora needles collected in the Fukushima Exclusion zone were used for analysis. After RNA extraction, efficiency and specificity of the primers were tested using real-time qPCR. We were able to provide potential primers for genes involved in phytohormone synthesis/transport and elevated ROS biomarkers. To fully understand the role of ionizing radiation in the loss of apical dominance, additional research is needed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Uhasselt - Hasselt University
    • Cuypers, Ann, Supervisor, External person
    Date of Award10 Apr 2020
    StatePublished - 10 Apr 2020

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