Navigation Links
Plants grow bigger and more vigorously through changes in their internal clocks

AUSTIN, TexasHybrid plants, like corn, grow bigger and better than their parents because many of their genes for photosynthesis and starch metabolism are more active during the day, report researchers from The University of Texas at Austin in a new study published in the journal Nature.

Their research has relevance in many areas of agriculture, and could result in new methods to increase biomass for biofuels and seed production for animal feedstock and human consumption.

It has long been known that hybrid plants such as hybrid corn are more vigorous than their parents. They are larger and have more biomass and bigger seeds. The same is true for plants that are polyploid, meaning that they have two or more sets of chromosomes. Over 70 percent of all flowering plants, including many important agricultural crops such as wheat, cotton, canola, sugarcane and banana, are naturally polyploid.

Until now, the molecular mechanisms for hybrid and polyploid vigor have largely been unknown.

"Before this discovery, no one really knew how hybridization and polyploidy led to increased vigor," says lead author Dr. Jeffrey Chen, the D. J. Sibley Centennial Professor of Plant Molecular Genetics. "This is certainly not the only mechanism behind this phenomenon, but it is a big step forward."

The key, Chen and his colleagues studying Arabidopsis plants found, is the increased expression of genes involved in photosynthesis and starch metabolism in hybrids and polyploids. These genes were expressed at high levels during the day, several-fold increases over their parents.

The hybrids and polyploids exhibited increased photosynthesis, higher amounts of chlorophyll and greater starch accumulation than their parents, all of which led to their growing larger.

Also, growth vigor was higher in allotetraploid plants (polyploids formed by combining two different Arabidopsis species) than standard hybrids (formed through combining the same species).

The research team discovered a direct connection between circadian clock regulators and growth vigor in both hybrids and polyploids. Circadian clocks control growth, metabolism and fitness in plants and animals.

They found that some of these regulators, known as transcriptional repressors, were more repressed during the day in the hybrids and polyploids, leading to increases in their photosynthesis and starch accumulation.

"This connection was a bit of surprise, but it makes a lot of sense," says Chen.

With this knowledge, Chen says they can now develop genomic and biotechnological tools to find and make better hybrids and polyploids.

"We can think about screening parent plants for these genes and selecting the ones to make the best hybrids," says Chen. "This could all be done through traditional breeding techniques and could have a huge impact on generating higher biomass crops for biofuels and increasing yield in many food crops."

The hybrid vigor or "heterosis" phenomenon was first observed by Charles Darwin in 1876, and was extensively studied in corn in the early 1900s. All corn in the U.S. is hybrid.

Many of the important polyploid crops, such as wheat and cotton, are known as allopolyploids, because they are formed from two or more different species. Chen and his colleagues study standard hybrid and allopolyploid Arabidopsis, cotton and corn.


Contact: Dr. Z. Jeffrey Chen
University of Texas at Austin

Related biology news :

1. Climate change opens new avenue for spread of invasive plants
2. New gene-silencing pathway found in plants
3. UD researchers show that plants can accumulate nanoparticles in tissues
4. TECNALIA investigates advanced biomaterials to make more reliable and hardwearing medical implants
5. The bonsai effect: Wounded plants make jasmonates, inhibiting cell division, stunting growth
6. Researchers use chemical from medicinal plants to fight HIV
7. Even plants benefit from outsourcing
8. Extreme weather postpones the flowering time of plants
9. New hybrid plants could prompt more prodigious pepper production in Southwest
10. Scientists unveil mechanism for up and down in plants
11. Current mass extinction spurs major study of which plants to save
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Plants grow bigger and more vigorously through changes in their internal clocks
(Date:10/29/2015)... 2015  Rubicon Genomics, Inc., today announced an ... its DNA library preparation products, including the ThruPLEX ... Plasma-seq kit. ThruPLEX Plasma-seq has been optimized for ... libraries for liquid biopsies--the analysis of cell-free circulating ... in cancer and other conditions. Eurofins Scientific is ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... YORK , Oct. 27, 2015 In ... major issues of concern for various industry verticals such ... is due to the growing demand for secure & ... in various ,sectors, such as hacking of bank accounts, ... for electronic equipment such as PC,s, laptops, and smartphones ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... LAS VEGAS , Oct. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... innovator in modern authentication and a founding member of ... of its latest version of the Nok Nok™ S3 ... use standards-based authentication that supports existing and emerging methods ... is ideal for organizations deploying customer-facing applications that require ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... Minn. , Dec. 1, 2015  The Minnesota ... recipient of the 2015 Tekne Award in the Small ... at the Minneapolis Convention ... have played a significant role in developing new technologies ... living around the world. Clostridium difficile ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... 2015 , ... RURO, Inc., a leading LIMS, and other ... management software solution, ezColony®, is now available as a subscription-based, cloud-hosted software service. ... , Many organizations are moving to cloud-hosting for LIMS and other lab ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... , December 1, 2015 Dr. Harry Lander , President ... serving as Chief Science Officer and recruits five ... Harry Lander , President of Regen, expands his role to ... recruits five distinguished scientists to join advisory team ... expands his role to include serving as ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... M.D., will join physicians, aesthetic practitioners and aesthetics professionals from Central America and ... to be held in Panama City, Panama Feb. 17-19, 2016. Testart will present ...
Breaking Biology Technology: