Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researcher Finds Space Fertile Arena For Gene Transfers

Date:
March 21, 2000
Source:
Purdue University
Summary:
Biotechnology may have found a new home in space, based on research that found genetic engineering in microgravity was 10 times more successful than on earth.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Biotechnology may have found a new home in space, based on research that found genetic engineering in microgravity was 10 times more successful than on earth.

Purdue University's Richard Vierling is preparing to have his successful soybean DNA transplant experiments recreated on board a NASA space shuttle scheduled for launch April 13. Vierling's first microgravity experiments were conducted in late 1998 by the oldest man to ever fly in space, former astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn.

Those experiments, which tested whether DNA transfer could be conducted in microgravity, proved not only that it could be done, but also that it was more successful and efficient than DNA transfers in a control group here on earth.

Of the soybean seedlings from the first space experiment, 9 percent exhibited the trait introduced. On earth, less than 1 percent of the control group showed the trait. "The rate of transient expression in a space environment was more than tenfold over the success rate of a comparable terrestrial experiment," Vierling says.

Those experiments seem to indicate that space may be a better environment for conducting gene transfers. "Genes were transferred more efficiently to targeted cells in space than on earth. The results were so significant, we're going to improve our experiments and try them again," he says.

Vierling, an adjunct associate professor of agronomy, is also director of the Indiana Crop Improvement genetics program. He is working on this project in conjunction with Stephen Goldman, a professor of biology at the University of Toledo. Their initial success was reported in the January 2000 edition of the journal Chemical Innovation produced by the American Chemical Society.

Vierling says despite modern advances in biotechnology, genetic engineering is still a very inexact science. "Some plant species are easier to work with than others," he says. "Soybeans in particular are very inefficient to work with, and we're hoping to learn through these experiments ways that we can improve our odds of success even here on earth."

The first space mission involved about 1,000 soybeans in what Vierling describes as "a crude experiment." "We didn't even know if you could do gene transfer in space," he says. "Some people had told us that it wouldn't be possible."

He says some of the initial misgivings centered around the fact that the bacteria used to transfer the DNA must be mobile. "They have to 'swim' in a solution, and liquids are hard to control in zero gravity. You must keep the liquid in contact with the cells to be successful," Vierling says.

However, the "floating" effect of space may be a benefit in this case, a hypothesis they hope to explore in this next round of experiments. Vierling already has applied for a patent based on the initial experiment results.

Vierling says commercial genetic transformation and regeneration of whole plants now is limited by the the low success rates. "We hope to learn what makes space a more efficient environment for these experiments and then design equipment for use on earth to increase our efficiencies here," he says.

The Purdue soybeans will have another Purdue Boilermaker connection while on board the space shuttle Atlantis this spring. Payload specialist Mary Ellen Webber, a Purdue chemical engineering graduate, will be among the crew at liftoff scheduled for 8:41 p.m. April 13.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Purdue University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Purdue University. "Researcher Finds Space Fertile Arena For Gene Transfers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 March 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000321080845.htm>.
Purdue University. (2000, March 21). Researcher Finds Space Fertile Arena For Gene Transfers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000321080845.htm
Purdue University. "Researcher Finds Space Fertile Arena For Gene Transfers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000321080845.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: NASA Captures Solar Flare

Raw: NASA Captures Solar Flare

AP (Sep. 1, 2014) NASA reported the sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, on August 24th. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the images of the flare, which erupted on the left side of the sun. (Sept. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space Shuttle Discovery's Legacy, 30 Years Later

Space Shuttle Discovery's Legacy, 30 Years Later

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) The space shuttle Discovery launched for the very first time 30 years ago. Here's a look back at its legacy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experiment Tests Whether Universe Is Actually A Hologram

Experiment Tests Whether Universe Is Actually A Hologram

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) Researchers at Fermilab are using a device called "The Holometer" to test whether our universe is actually a 2-D hologram that just seems 3-D. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket Explodes After Liftoff

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket Explodes After Liftoff

Newsy (Aug. 23, 2014) The private spaceflight company says it is preparing a thorough investigation into Friday's mishap. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins