ICBO_2018_72: Ontology-based Comparative Transcriptomics: Novel Drought Stress-Induced Genes and Pathways in Rice


Rice is an important crop that feeds almost half the world population. As climate change models predict floods, drought and extreme temperatures in rice production areas, the need to better understand the genetic basis of adaptation and tolerance mechanisms to abiotic stresses is vital. To better understand tolerance mechanisms and responses under drought, we designed a time-series transcriptomic experiment with two different genotypes of Oryza sativa subspecies indica. These indica genotypes are grown in their center of diversity and are phenotyped as tolerant or susceptible to common abiotic stressors: submergence, saline, and/or drought. Using systems approach, our goal was to identify the stress tolerant candidate genes and genetic polymorphism to help accelerate the genetic gains in plant breeding efforts. We generated RNA-Seq transcriptome data for treated and untreated samples of the two indica genotypes, with three biological replicates, per time point in a drought-stress induced experiment. The sequence data generated was analyzed by calling polymorphisms, transcript isoforms, expression levels, assembling transcriptomes and identifying stress-induced pathways specific to each genetic background and tolerance level. The statistically significant results of these analyses were then annotated using various ontologies and by aligning against the quantitative trait loci and phenotypes annotated with trait ontology, SNP consequences annotated with sequence ontology, and gene ontologies, to identify function, process role and cellular localization of genes of interest. Collating these ontologies proved useful in identifying stress-induced genes overlapping the QTLs overlapping with drought phenotype and characterizing thousands of interesting genetic changes that may help us understand mechanism of drought response in rice.

Year of Publication
Conference Name
International Conference on Biomedical Ontology (ICBO 2018)
Date Published
International Conference on Biological Ontology
Download citation