Pioneering Online Resource "Stress Knowledge Map" Boosts Plant Stress Research


A new digital resource for plant science research, the Stress Knowledge Map (SKM), was unveiled this week in an article in the scientific journal Plant Communications. Developed by a team of researchers at the Slovenian National Institute of Biology in collaboration with the EU Horizons 2020 project ‘ADAPT’, SKM aims to assist in the development of resilient crop varieties, a crucial step in addressing the global food security challenges posed by climate change.

SKM combines large amounts of data on plant stress responses and molecular interactions into a single, structured platform, utilising knowledge graphs. “Such integration of data from diverse sources is crucial to gain a deeper understanding of how plants react to stresses like heat, drought, and pathogens,” explains Dr. Carissa Bleker, lead developer of the resource. The interactive platform simplifies navigation of complex information, allowing researchers and agricultural professionals to explore how plants react under various stress conditions, to interpret data from new experiments, and form new hypotheses.

In the article, the utility of SKM was shown through two case studies: one examines the complex cross-talk between three plant hormones in activating a stress-related gene and the second explores the regulatory role of calcium in stress influenced proteins. "SKM enables systematic hypothesis generation and design of validation experiments which are essential for advancing our understanding of plant biology," said Dr. Kristina Gruden, the project's lead. "But its application also extends beyond basic research, for example SKM can be used by breeders to find crucial information needed for crop improvement."

Freely accessible online, SKM offers comprehensive tools for systems biology analysis, promising significant contributions in agriculture by supporting the development of stress-resistant crops, thus enhancing productivity and sustainability.

For more information about SKM, visit skm.nib.siRead the full article at: