USING SYSTEMS BIOLOGY TO SOLVE THE RIDDLE OF RECALCITRANT TROPICAL PLANTS
Systems biology is an interdisciplinary approach that focuses on complex biological systems. It is aimed at explaining and understanding the properties and behavior of the biological systems especially the dynamics aspect of network behavior. This requires the integration of experimental and computational research. The systems biology approach has the ability to obtain, integrate and analyze complex data from multiple experimental sources using interdisciplinary tools, such as omics technology and computational biology platforms. This approach has been used to study the biosynthetic pathways of secondary metabolites in plants and microbes, which will facilitate the fundamental components in secondary metabolite production. Hence various manipulations could be carried out to increase the production of metabolites of interest. A similar approach could be used to study recalcitrance in plants. Recalcitrant tropical plants are known to be difficult to manipulate in culture (recalcitrant in culture or to micropropagation) and are a problem to conserve, as they are sensitive to desiccation and low temperature. Attempts to cryopreserve these species have met with unsuccessful results. The knowledge on fundamental aspects of these recalcitrant characteristics is limited; hence, the development of cryopreservation protocols is hindered and the reasons for failures remain unknown or only partially understood. Systems biology may provide a fundamental approach to improve the current understanding of recalcitrant species. Future efforts should focus on the generation of new data (genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics, and metabolomics) on different conditions, and then the focus should be on data integration to investigate and evaluate the metabolic and regulatory conditions (or models) of recalcitrance. Integration of this data will lead to the discovery of potential factors that are useful in solving the recalcitrant seed storage problems. Research using this approach has started in various groups but an international consortium is needed to put this enormous amount of data together at a faster rate.
Normah, M.N. (2014). USING SYSTEMS BIOLOGY TO SOLVE THE RIDDLE OF RECALCITRANT TROPICAL PLANTS. Acta Hortic. 1039, 211-218
desiccation sensitive, low temperature sensitive, genomics, proteomics, metabolomics