Plants are frequently exposed to wide range of harsh environmental factors, such as drought, salinity, cold, heat, and insect attack. Being sessile in nature, plants have developed different strategies to adapt and grow under rapidly changing environments. These strategies involve rearrangements at the molecular level starting from transcription, regulation of mRNA processing, translation, and protein modification or its turnover. Plants show stress-specific regulation of transcription that affects their transcriptome under stress conditions. The transcriptionally regulated genes have different roles under stress response. Generally, seedling and reproductive stages are more susceptible to stress. Thus, stress response studies during these growth stages reveal novel differentially regulated genes or proteins with important functions in plant stress adaptation. Exploiting the functional genomics and bioinformatics studies paved the way in understanding the relationship between genotype and phenotype of an organism suffering from environmental stress. Future research programs can be focused on the development of transgenic plants with enhanced stress tolerance in field conditions based upon the outcome of genomic approaches and knowing the mystery of nucleotides sequences hidden in cells.
Part of the book: Plant Genomics
Genetic engineering is the most powerful technology of this century which is dramatically revolutionizing the agriculture, health, pharmaceutical, and food industries all over the world. Transcriptomics and genetic engineering go hand in hand from the development of a genetically modified organism (GMO) to its utilization by the humans. Transcriptome analysis is the analysis of messenger RNAs (mRNAs), which are produced by transcription of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in an organism in response to a specific internal/external environment. Transcriptome analysis is not only useful to dig out the potential target genes for genetic modifications but also utilized to study the proper functioning of a genetically engineered gene, evaluation of the GMO for biosafety risks and for monitoring the presence and movement of GMO. Despite huge scope of genetic engineering, these manipulations can upset the natural balance of a genome by insertional, soma clonal, and pleiotropic effects of a foreign gene resulting in unintended alterations along with the targeted changes. The untargeted alterations pose risks to environment and health of animals and plants. In this chapter, the key advancements in the field of biotechnology and the relevant biosafety issues are reviewed. The advantages and limitations of the current methods used for the evaluation, monitoring, and regulation of GMOs are discussed.
Part of the book: Applications of RNA-Seq and Omics Strategies