Navigation Links
Gene 'knockout' floors tobacco carcinogen
Date:3/18/2008

In large-scale field trials, scientists from North Carolina State University have shown that silencing a specific gene in burley tobacco plants significantly reduces harmful carcinogens in cured tobacco leaves.

The finding could lead to tobacco products especially smokeless products with reduced amounts of cancer-causing agents.

NC State's Dr. Ralph Dewey, professor of crop science, and Dr. Ramsey Lewis, assistant professor of crop science, teamed with colleagues from the University of Kentucky to knock out a gene known to turn nicotine into nornicotine. Nornicotine is a precursor to the carcinogen N-nitrosonornicotine (NNN). Varying percentages of nicotine are turned into nornicotine while the plant ages; nornicotine converts to NNN as the tobacco is cured, processed and stored.

The field tests in Kentucky, Virginia and North Carolina compared cured burley tobacco plants with the troublesome gene silenced and "control" plant lines with normal levels of gene expression. The researchers found a six-fold decrease in carcinogenic NNN in the genetically modified tobacco plants, as well as a 50 percent overall reduction in the class of harmful compounds called TSNAs, or tobacco-specific nitrosamines. TSNAs are reported to be among the most important tobacco-related compounds implicated in various cancers in laboratory experiments, Lewis said.

The research results were published online in Plant Biotechnology Journal.

Lewis and Dewey stress that the best way for people to avoid the risks associated with tobacco use is to avoid using tobacco products. But their findings show that targeted gene silencing can work as well in the field as it does on the lab bench.

"Creating a tobacco plant with fewer or no harmful compounds may also help with tobacco plants that are being used to create pharmaceuticals or other high-value products," Dewey said.

To get initial lines of plants with the troublesome gene silenced, the NC State researchers used a technique called RNA interference in which genetic engineering was used to introduce a gene that inhibits the demethylase gene function into the tobacco plant.

Dewey and Lewis have since developed tobacco lines with the same effect without using genetic engineering. They randomly inserted chemical changes, or mutations, into the tobacco genome of burley tobacco plants. They then searched for plants in which the nicotine demethylase gene was permanently impaired. The researchers are currently working to transfer this mutation to widely used tobacco varieties.

Dewey and Lewis add that nothing else in the plant changed growth or resistance to insects or disease, for example after they knocked out this specific gene.

While Lewis believes that varieties of burley tobacco with a silenced demethylase gene will exist within the next few years, the NC State researchers say burley tobacco has a number of other targets for their gene silencing method.


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr. Ralph Dewey
ralph_dewey@ncsu.edu
919-515-2705
North Carolina State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Pitt study finds inequality in tobacco advertising
2. Tennessee Faith Leaders Call on Reps. Gordon & Blackburn to Co-sponsor Legislation to Protect Kids from Tobacco
3. OSF HealthCare Achieves Impressive Tobacco Quit Rates with the Free & Clear(R) Quit For Life(TM) Program
4. President Bush Should Protect Kids, Not Big Tobacco By Signing Bill to Increase Cigarette Tax, Fund SCHIP
5. Tobacco-Free Kids Applauds Tyra Banks for Exposing the Ugly Truth About Smoking
6. Congressional Support Grows for FDA Regulation of Tobacco: Bill Now Sponsored by 55 Senators, 200 Representatives
7. Congress Starts Hearings on FDAs Control of Tobacco
8. Presidents Veto of Bill to Increase Cigarette Tax, Fund SCHIP Benefits Big Tobacco at Expense of Americas Kids
9. UGA study: Youth exposed to smokeless tobacco ads despite settlement
10. Big Tobaccos Latest Dirty Trick: Deceiving Oregon Voters
11. Virginia Faith Leaders Call on Senators Webb & Warner to Cosponsor Legislation to Protect Kids from Tobacco
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... VA (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... of DevOps and Agile Software Development, has been awarded a contract by the ... Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) aims to accelerate the enterprise use of Agile methodologies ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... CitiDent and ... apnea using cutting-edge Oventus O2Vent technology. As many as 18 million Americans ... frequent cessation in breathing. Oral appliances can offer significant relief to about 75 ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 , ... The American College ... to Carol Friedman, PhD, FACMI, during the Opening Session of AMIA’s Annual Symposium in ... , In honor of Morris F. Collen, a pioneer in the field of medical ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... ... HMP , a leader in healthcare events and education, today announced that ... ‘Best B-to-B Healthcare Website.’ Winners were announced during the Eddie & Ozzie Awards luncheon ... editorial and design excellence across a range of sectors. This year’s program included the ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Health Literacy Innovations (HLI), creator of the ... the Cancer Patient Education Network (CPEN), an independent professional organization that shares best ... alliance. , As CPEN’s strategic partner, HLI will help support CPEN members ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/18/2017)... , Pa. and KALAMAZOO, Mich. , ... Allentown, Penn. , and OptiMed Specialty Pharmacy of ... business partnership to offer a strategic hub service that ... Healthcare,s highly sought-after personal spirometer, Spiro PD 2.0, and ... A spirometer is a medical device used to ...
(Date:9/13/2017)... Sept. 13, 2017   OrthoAtlanta has been named ... Football Host Committee (AFHC) for the 2018 College Football Playoff ... 2018, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia ... AFHC "I,m In" campaign, participating in many activities leading up ... ...
(Date:9/12/2017)... N.J. , Sept. 12, 2017  Consumer reviews on the ... Hearing as the number one company for hearing aids, ranking ... and fifteen other brands. ... Embrace Hearing Named #1 by Consumers For Hearing Aids ... Embrace Hearing is an online store that provides high ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: