Today, humanity is increasingly aware of the impact it has on the environment and the difficulties caused when the environment impacts our communities. Environmental change can be particularly harsh when the plants we use for food, fuel, feed and fiber are affected by this change. High salinity is an agricultural contaminant of increasing significance. Not only does this limit the land available for use in agriculture, but in land that has been used for generations, the combination of irrigation and evaporation gradually leads to increasing soil salinity.
The Dinneny lab focuses on understanding how developmental processes such as cell-type specification regulate responses to environmental change. While understanding the mechanisms controlling environmental response is a major focus in plant biology, most studies have considered the organ or even the whole organism as a single responsive unit and ignore the potential diversity of responses that may be afforded by the various cell-types composing an organism. We have shown that developmental parameters play a key role in determining the transcriptional response of cells to high salinity.