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:4/26/2016)... India and LONDON ... Infosys Finacle, part of EdgeVerve Systems, a product ... and Onegini today announced a partnership to integrate ... solutions.      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151104/283829LOGO ... to provide their customers enhanced security to access ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... 20, 2016 The new GEZE ... compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution for all door components. ... or the door interface with integration authorization management system, ... systems. The minimal dimensions of the access control and ... building installations offer considerable freedom of design with regard ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... 15, 2016 Research and ... Biometrics Market 2016-2020,"  report to their offering.  , ... , ,The global gait biometrics market is expected ... the period 2016-2020. Gait analysis generates ... be used to compute factors that are not ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... innovative medical technologies, services and solutions to the healthcare market. The company's primary ... various distribution, manufacturing, sales and marketing strategies that are necessary to help companies ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... TOKYO , June 24, 2016  Regular discussions on ... to take place between the two entities said Poloz. ... in Ottawa , he pointed to the ... and the federal government. ... Poloz said, "Both institutions have common economic goals, why not ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... the release of its second eBook, “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” ... and retention in this eBook by providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Md. , June 23, 2016 A person ... from the crime scene to track the criminal down. ... the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. The FDA ... sequencing to support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put as simply ...
Breaking Biology Technology: