Navigation Links
Kansas state flower receives scientific attention
Date:4/9/2008

MANHATTAN, KAN. -- Anyone who has seen Kansas prairies in late summer to early fall can attest to the abundance of sunflowers decorating fields and lining roadways, giving Kansas the well deserved nickname, the Sunflower State.

Despite its beauty, the sunflower is more than just a pretty flower. To scientists, such as Mark Ungerer, assistant professor in the Division of Biology at Kansas State University, it is a prime example of the unique adaptability of plants.

In March, the National Science Foundation awarded Ungerer a $610,000 grant to continue his research on the genomic evolution of three species of hybrid sunflowers: anomalous sunflower, Desert sunflower and Pecos sunflower. The independent origins of these three hybrid species, from the same two parents, the common sunflower and Plains sunflower, raised some intriguing questions for Ungerer that inspired his grant proposal.

As Ungerer reviewed the genetic data from all five species of sunflowers he noticed something weird. The two parental species and the three hybrid species all have 34 chromosomes, but the genomes, the entire hereditary information encoded in DNA, of the hybrid species is far larger.

"What is strange is that the hybrid species have about 50-75 percent more DNA than the parental species and that doesn't make sense, given what we know about their origins. If they all have the same number of chromosomes how could they possibly have more DNA" Where did it come from"" Ungerer asked.

Given that all three hybrid species grow in extreme environments, Ungerer hypothesizes that environmental stress may have caused the activation of a typically inactive class of transposable elements of DNA, called long terminal repeat retrotransposons.

"These elements are DNA sequences related to infectious retroviruses and are capable of multiplying and inserting copies of themselves into new positions in their host genome. Because of their replicative abilities, long terminal repeat retrotransposons, when activated, can result in massive genomic expansion and restructuring," Ungerer said.

"We are trying to understand the circumstances that caused retrotransposons to become active and proliferate in these sunflowers and the evolutionary and ecological consequences of these proliferation events," Ungerer said. He also noted that retrotransposons are not just found in sunflowers but in virtually all plants and animals, even humans. In his grant proposal , Ungerer said knowledge of the causes and consequences of this activation could deeply impact our understanding of the role of these genetic elements in organism evolution.

During the course of his three year study, Ungerer will be testing his theory using the controlled greenhouse environments available at K-State to mimic possible environmental stresses on early generation hybrids from the two parental species. Ungerer also will be collecting samples from wild sunflowers in hybrid zones throughout Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico.


'/>"/>

Contact: Mark Ungerer
mcungere@k-state.edu
785-532-5845
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. McPherson County Kansas to Purchase Stingers
2. Obesity and the central nervous system -- the state of the art
3. University of Minnesota study refutes belief that black men have more aggressive prostate cancer
4. Iowa State University conference examines developing bioeconomy
5. University and state agencies to forecast local health effects of climate change
6. K-State Veterinary Lab routinely tests for bluetongue virus
7. New prostate cancer research findings
8. Iowa State professors genome research published in the latest issue of Science
9. Leading researchers to reveal comprehensive dos and donts for prostate cancer
10. K-State chemistry professor to receive Masao Horiba award
11. K-State sociologists use Department of Energy grant
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/15/2016)... , April 15, 2016 ... the,  "Global Gait Biometrics Market 2016-2020,"  report to ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160330/349511LOGO ) , ,The global gait biometrics ... of 13.98% during the period 2016-2020. ... angles, which can be used to compute factors ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... RATON, Florida , March 31, 2016 ... LEGX ) ("LegacyXChange" or the "Company") ... for potential users of its soon to be launched ... video ( https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyTLBzmZogV1y2D6bDkBX5g ) will also provide ... the use of DNA technology to an industry that ...
(Date:3/23/2016)... Massachusetts , March 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... im Interesse erhöhter Sicherheit Gesichts- und Stimmerkennung ... Xura, Inc. (NASDAQ: MESG ), ... bekannt, dass das Unternehmen mit SpeechPro zusammenarbeitet, ... aus der Finanzdienstleistungsbranche, wird die Möglichkeit angeboten, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... April 27, 2016 , ... ... for simultaneous preclinical PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) in ... understanding disease and testing novel treatments in small animal subjects. Simultaneous PET/MRI imaging ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... PARIS , April 27, 2016 ... system disorders, today announces the appointment of Catherine Moukheibir as ... succeed MedDay,s previous Chairman, Jean Jacques Garaud , who ... The change is effective immediately. Catherine started her ... Boston and London .  She ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... Redwood City, CA (PRWEB) , ... April 26, ... ... company for healthcare, today announced that Ardy Arianpour has joined the company as ... 14 years of experience bringing innovative genomic technologies to market, was most recently ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Mr. Palmer created the RPO business for Ceridian and lead ... managed services contract in the U.S. intelligence community with The SI (a Lockheed Martin ... Younger, founder of Accolo. “We are growing and his experience guiding our expansion ...
Breaking Biology Technology: