Mohamad Abbas

Altitude is an essential part of plant ecology with at least 30% of plant species diversity contained in mountains. Plants are able to adapt to the altitude they grow at by ‘sensing’ environmental factors that surround them.

For life at high altitude, plants need to adapt to many variables, including low oxygen availability, high UV light and lower temperatures. How plants coordinate such signals is not yet known. Our interest is to understand the molecular mechanisms, genetic basis and environmental cross-talks that contribute to altitude adaption.

This better understanding of the adaptive changes that plants go through at various altitudes could lead to new approaches to help plant breeders enhance the ability of crops to grow at higher attitudes – a feature which will become increasingly important as climate change advances.

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