Navigation Links
Moss is a super model for feeding the hungry
Date:12/13/2007

One of the simplest plants on the planet could help scientists create crops to survive the ravages of drought.

The moss Physcomitrella patens is a primitive plant, similar to the first plants which began to grow on land around 450 million years ago. Just one cell thick, these early plants had to adapt to withstand cold, heat and drought without roots or complex leaves. The ability of mosses to survive severe dehydration and then regrow when watered could be of enormous use in crops grown in drought-stricken areas of the developing world.

Scientists from the University of Leeds, with colleagues from Germany, Japan and the USA, have sequenced the genome for Physcomitrella the first non-flowering or lower plant to be sequenced and their findings are published in the latest issue of the journal Science.

Now that they have sequenced the mosss DNA, scientists will be able to identify which genes control these survival tactics and adapt crops to do the same.

The study of Physcomitrella was started at the University of Leeds over 20 years ago by Professor David Cove. Dr Andy Cuming has continued Professor Coves work, supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, and is part of the international team working on the genome.

Physcomitrella is a really useful plant to study, explains Dr Cuming. In addition to being the link between water-based algae and land plants, it also has many important characteristics which make it special. By sequencing the genome, we can start to identify their genetic basis and use the knowledge for crop improvement.

Physcomitrella has a single haploid genome rather than a double genome from male and female parents which makes it easier to identify which characteristics link to which gene. The moss is also able to integrate new DNA into a defined target in the genome unlike most plants which integrate new DNA randomly. This means that modification of the moss genome is far more controlled than with other plants and allows the moss to be adapted as a green factory to produce pharmaceutical products.

If we can discover what mechanisms cause the Physcomitrella genome to integrate DNA in this way we may be able to transfer those to other plants, to allow more controlled modification of their genomes, said Dr Cuming. However, we also believe many of the useful genes in Physcomitrella are probably still present in higher crop plants, but are no longer active in the same way. So rather than adding new DNA well just be activating whats already there to create the properties we want.

The sequencing has been carried out at the Joint Genome Institute in Berkeley, California, which invites scientists around the world to compete each year to use their sequencing facilities for a particular genome. Physcomitrella patens won the competition in 2005. The work has been coordinated by the University of Leeds, the University of Freiburg in Germany, the National Institute for Basic Biology in Japan, Washington University at St Louis, Missouri and the University of California at Berkeley.

Until now, only a handful of flowering plant genomes have been sequenced, compared with a large number of diverse animal genomes, says Dr Cuming. But knowledge of a range of genomes is really important for scientific study. To help in understanding the human genome, scientists use the DNA of fruit flies, nematode worms and mice, to name only a few. We need that range in plant sciences too and Physcomitrella patens is a fantastic one to add to the list.


'/>"/>

Contact: Clare Elsley
clare@campuspr.co.uk
44-011-325-89880
University of Leeds  
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Developing kryptonite for Superbug
2. Decoy makes sitting duck of superbugs
3. Mayo Clinic study: Ossurs collars superior in immobilization and reduction of pressure
4. Novel 3-D cell culture model shows selective tumor uptake of nanoparticles
5. A new kind of rat model
6. JILA finds flaw in model describing DNA elasticity
7. Smithsonian researchers develop models to assess wetland health
8. Prediction of RNA pseudoknots using heuristic modeling with mapping and sequential folding
9. Simulating kernel production influences maize model accuracy
10. MIT model could improve some drugs effectiveness
11. Model for the assembly of advanced, single-molecule-based electronic components developed at Pitt
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Moss is a super model for feeding the hungry
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 Crossmatch®, a globally-recognized leader ... today announced that it has been awarded a ... Activity (IARPA) to develop next-generation Presentation Attack Detection ... "Innovation has been a driving force within Crossmatch ... allow us to innovate and develop new technologies ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... Florida , April 11, 2017 ... a security technology company, announces the appointment of independent Directors ... Bendheim to its Board of Directors, furthering the company,s ... ... of NXT-ID, we look forward to their guidance and benefiting ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 5, 2017 Today HYPR ... that the server component of the HYPR platform is ... providing the end-to-end security architecture that empowers biometric authentication ... HYPR has already secured over 15 million users across ... manufacturers of connected home product suites and physical access ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/27/2017)... N.C., July 27, 2017 United Therapeutics Corporation ... financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, ... second quarter total net revenues reached $445 million, ... Martine Rothblatt, Ph.D., United Therapeutics Chairman and Chief ... is well-positioned given the large and growing number ...
(Date:7/26/2017)... ... 26, 2017 , ... Franz Inc ., an early ... for Knowledge Graphs, today announced Gruff v7.0 , the industry’s leading Graph ... and graph experts the ability to visually build queries and explore connections as ...
(Date:7/26/2017)... ... July 25, 2017 , ... Proscia Inc. , a software solutions ... featured panelist at 2017 MedCity CONVERGE. His talk, “The Davids vs. the Cancer Goliath,” ... and emerging technology (AI, VR, Big Data) sectors are taking aim at cancer diagnosis ...
(Date:7/26/2017)... ... July 26, 2017 , ... ... complex problems we face every day. This unique capability combines high resolution ... chemists, and manufacturers to deliver unprecedented datasets for chemical analysis, quality control, and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: