Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nonviable Seeds May Contain Research-Quality DNA

Date:
August 28, 2008
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Agricultural Research Service scientists have ways of making seeds talk. They have demonstrated that seeds can reveal genetic information even after they've lost viability, which is the ability to germinate. The research has significant implications for seed bank management.

Seeds can still reveal genetic information even after they will no longer germinate, offering the hope of obtaining usable DNA even from 100-year-old seeds.
Credit: Photo by Stephen Ausmus

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Fort Collins, Colo., have ways of making seeds talk. They have demonstrated that seeds can reveal genetic information even after they've lost viability, which is the ability to germinate. The research has significant implications for seed bank management.

The research was conducted by plant physiologist Christina Walters, plant physiologist Gayle M. Volk and plant geneticist Christopher M. Richards at the ARS National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation (NCGRP) in Fort Collins, Colo.

Like all genebanks, the NCGRP stores genetic materials that researchers can use to study the nature, function and evolution of genes. All seeds lose viability in storage, however, and samples that can no longer germinate are often discarded. But new research shows that even low-viability seeds can contain research-quality DNA.

The ARS scientists examined three sets of seeds, ranging in age from one year to 135 years. They were able to extract usable DNA from all of the seeds—even the oldest set, which had been stored in a Georgia attic since the Civil War.

This is significant because donated collections, such as the Civil War seeds used in this study, are sometimes infested with microbes that contain enzymes capable of degrading the seeds' DNA. Fortunately, genetic materials at the NCGRP are stored under optimal conditions, and are at lower risk for degradation.

Because the oldest seeds in this study are no longer capable of germinating, the scientists have no means of measuring their phenotypes, or observable genetic traits. However, stable DNA enables researchers to study the parent plants' genetic material and uncover information about their genetic diversity.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. The original article was written by Laura McGinnis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Nonviable Seeds May Contain Research-Quality DNA." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080825201928.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2008, August 28). Nonviable Seeds May Contain Research-Quality DNA. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080825201928.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Nonviable Seeds May Contain Research-Quality DNA." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080825201928.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Rare Lion Cubs Make Debut at Belgrade Zoo

Raw: Rare Lion Cubs Make Debut at Belgrade Zoo

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) Two white lion cubs were born in Belgrade zoo three weeks ago. White lions are a rare mutation of a species found in South Africa and some cultures consider them divine. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sweet Times for Hard Cider Makers

Sweet Times for Hard Cider Makers

AP (Oct. 16, 2014) With hard cider making a hardcore comeback across the country, craft makers are trying to keep up with demand and apple growers are tapping a juicy new revenue stream. (Oct. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Meet Garfi the Angry Cat

Meet Garfi the Angry Cat

Buzz60 (Oct. 16, 2014) Garfi is one frowny, feisty feline - downright angry! Ko Im (@koimtv) introduces us to the latest animal celebrity taking over the Internet. You can follow more of Garfi's adventures on Twitter (@MeetGarfi) and Facebook (Garfi). Video provided by Buzz60
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