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UC Riverside biochemist to study how crops can increase protein production
Date:4/10/2009

RIVERSIDE, Calif. The small flowering plant Arabidopsis is widely used in laboratories as a model organism in plant biology.

A member of the mustard family, Arabidopsis offers researchers several advantages such as a completely sequenced genome, a compact size, a life-cycle of about only six weeks from seed to seed, easy cultivation and high seed production.

Now Daniel Gallie, a professor of biochemistry at UC Riverside, has received a three-year grant of nearly $1.75 million from the National Science Foundation to study how each Arabidopsis gene is converted into protein and how plants control this process.

The research can help improve protein production in crops. Protein-rich crops improve the diet of humans directly and promote livestock productivity for a growing world population. Besides their nutritional advantages, these crops also reduce the environmental impact of livestock production by potentially reducing the acreage required for agriculture.

"Understanding how most genes, out of the more than 25,000 genes in Arabidopsis, are converted into protein will be important in understanding how plants control protein synthesis," Gallie said. "This knowledge is essential in improving protein production in crops."

With the advent of the complete sequence of the genome of Arabidopsis and other plant species, researchers are now in a position of being able to understand how every gene in an organism is converted into protein.

"This, in conjunction with the development of other recent technologies, such as the ability to identify mutants in most genes as well as to analyze virtually all genes in Arabidopsis on a chip no larger than a fingertip, makes such a study possible for the first time," Gallie said.

He explained that the process of protein producti
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Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

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