Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Trees And Flowers More Akin Than Dissimilar; Homology Of Expressed Genes In Loblolly Pine And Arabidopsis Thaliana

Date:
May 29, 2003
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
Harvesting wood from weeds? Coaxing lumber from lobelias? Those possibilities aren't as far-fetched as you might think. The two major kinds of plants – woody and herbaceous – are genetically far more similar than previously believed, according to genetic analysis conducted by forestry researchers at North Carolina State University.

Harvesting wood from weeds? Coaxing lumber from lobelias? Those possibilities aren't as far-fetched as you might think. The two major kinds of plants – woody and herbaceous – are genetically far more similar than previously believed, according to genetic analysis conducted by forestry researchers at North Carolina State University. Comparing loblolly pines with the flowering annual Arabidopsis thaliana using DNA-sequencing technology, said Dr. Ronald R. Sederoff, Distinguished University Professor of forestry, led to a surprising finding: "The closer we looked at their genomes, the more similarities emerged."

Related Articles


The research also suggests that the techniques now being used to find genetic differences among plant types may exaggerate those differences, said Sederoff. "Most expressed gene-sequence analysis is limited to relatively short sequences of 500 bases or less," he said. "By looking at overlapping contiguous base sequences of 1,000 or more, we obtain a broader view that shows much more similarity between loblolly pine and Arabidopsis than we expected."

Like all plants, the towering pine and the flowering annual weed shared a common ancestor, but hundreds of millions of years ago, so their genetic differences were expected to be as diverse as their appearances. "Few genes would be expected to retain high sequence similarity for this time," the researchers say, "if they did not have essential functions. These observations suggest substantial conservation of gene sequence in seed plants."

The results are detailed in the paper "Apparent homology of expressed genes from wood-forming tissues of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) with Arabidopsis thaliana" in the May 26 online issue of the Proceedings of the Academy of National Sciences (PNAS).

The two plants could hardly be more dissimilar: Arabidopsis is a small annual that lives for only weeks; the loblolly pine is a lofty tree that can live for hundreds of years. And yet, based on their analysis of more than 60,000 expressed sequence tags, Sederoff said the team found that 90 percent of the sturdy pine's genes match those of the tiny herbaceous plant.

"We wanted to know if woody and herbaceous plants evolved different genes that account for their diversity, or if they use the same genes in different ways," said Sederoff. "Our research strongly suggests the latter."

This "substantial conservation of gene sequence in seed plants," despite 300 million years of evolution and adaptation, means that herbaceous plants have the genetic potential to produce wood, and that woody plants might be engineered for other favorable characteristics.

The team's work was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation. Matias Kirst, a graduate student in the genomics program of the Department of Genetics at NC State, is credited by Sederoff with the analytical work described in the paper. Researchers at NC State and the Center for Computational Genomics and Bioinformatics at the University of Minnesota performed the sequencing.

Sederoff, who co-directs the Forest Biotechnology Group in NC State's Department of Forestry, is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He has specialized in the study of loblolly pines.

Sederoff and a team of molecular biologists and bioinformatics experts have been working to identify the genes used by trees to answer some basic questions: What genes do trees employ in making wood, and how do they use those genes?


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "Trees And Flowers More Akin Than Dissimilar; Homology Of Expressed Genes In Loblolly Pine And Arabidopsis Thaliana." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 May 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/05/030529081013.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (2003, May 29). Trees And Flowers More Akin Than Dissimilar; Homology Of Expressed Genes In Loblolly Pine And Arabidopsis Thaliana. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 2, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/05/030529081013.htm
North Carolina State University. "Trees And Flowers More Akin Than Dissimilar; Homology Of Expressed Genes In Loblolly Pine And Arabidopsis Thaliana." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/05/030529081013.htm (accessed March 2, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, March 2, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

500 Snakes Surprise Construction Workers In Canada

500 Snakes Surprise Construction Workers In Canada

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) Hundreds of snakes, disturbed by a construction project, were relocated to a wildlife rescue association in Canada. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Zookeepers Copy Animal Poses In Hilarious Viral Photos

Zookeepers Copy Animal Poses In Hilarious Viral Photos

Buzz60 (Mar. 2, 2015) Zookeepers at the Symbio Wildlife Park in Helensburgh, Australia decided to take some of their favorite animal photos and recreate them by posing just like the animals. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Heavy Toll as Australian Farmers Struggle Through Drought

Heavy Toll as Australian Farmers Struggle Through Drought

AFP (Mar. 2, 2015) Mounting debts, despair and forced repossessions are taking a heavy toll on farmers in parts of Australia suffering from its worst drought in 100 years. Duration: 02:16 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Whale-Watching Scientists Spot Baby Orca

Whale-Watching Scientists Spot Baby Orca

AP (Feb. 28, 2015) Researchers following endangered killer whales spotted a baby orca off the coast of Washington state, the third birth documented this winter but still leaving the population dangerously low. (Feb. 28) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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