Data science approaches provide a roadmap to understanding the role of abscisic acid in defence

Katie Stevens*, Iain G. Johnston, Estrella Luna*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Downloads (Pure)


Abscisic acid (ABA) is a plant hormone well known to regulate abiotic stress responses. ABA is also recognised for its role in biotic defence, but there is currently a lack of consensus on whether it plays a positive or negative role. Here, we used supervised machine learning to analyse experimental observations on the defensive role of ABA to identify the most influential factors determining disease phenotypes. ABA concentration, plant age and pathogen lifestyle were identified as important modulators of defence behaviour in our computational predictions. We explored these predictions with new experiments in tomato, demonstrating that phenotypes after ABA treatment were indeed highly dependent on plant age and pathogen lifestyle. Integration of these new results into the statistical analysis refined the quantitative model of ABA influence, suggesting a framework for proposing and exploiting further research to make more progress on this complex question. Our approach provides a unifying road map to guide future studies involving the role of ABA in defence.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2
JournalQuantitative Plant Biology
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2023


  • ABA
  • decision tree
  • machine learning
  • plant hormone
  • resistance


Dive into the research topics of 'Data science approaches provide a roadmap to understanding the role of abscisic acid in defence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this