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

n 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we also believe many of the useful genes in Physcomitrella are probably still present in higher crop plants, but are no longer active in the same way.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.


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

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