Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Little plant tells big stories: Researchers capture codes to genetic variation in 'model' plant

Date:
August 29, 2011
Source:
University of Utah
Summary:
Researchers have compared genetic data from 19 different strains of a humble plant called Arabidopsis thaliana. The genome sequences of these strains, 18 of which are presented in the study, will now make it easier to study plants' surprisingly wide trait variation that underlies their adaptability.

Flowers of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.
Credit: Courtesy of the Clark lab in the Biology Department at the University of Utah

Understanding which genes control traits, like when a plant will flower, what soil type is best or its ability to persist in drought conditions provides insight into the ability of plants to adapt to new environments. This type of scientific data is important for crop improvement and significant to human well being.

An international collaboration of researchers, including biologists at the University of Utah, compared genetic data from 19 different strains of a humble plant called Arabidopsis thaliana. The genome sequences of these strains, 18 of which are presented in the study, will now make it easier to study plants' surprisingly wide trait variation that underlies their adaptability. The results of the study are published online in the journal Nature.

"Arabidopsis thaliana is widely used by the international community and has provided a wealth of knowledge about plant biology," says Richard Clark, University of Utah biologist and one of the authors of this multinational project. "However, so far our knowledge has come largely from a single Arabidopsis strain, even though other strains can vary greatly in traits like flowering time. By comparing genetic information from multiple strains, we can now understand how genome differences between strains enable plants to adapt to different climates and situations. This means, we are better equipped to understand the genetic processes that underlie variation in traits of ecological and agricultural relevance," he concludes.

The results become a founding part of the 1001 Genomes Project, launched by members of the international Arabidopsis community to catalog genetic information in hundreds of strains from different regions in the world. However, the study goes beyond simply cataloging DNA sequence differences.

"In every cell, there are 'messages' between the gene and the protein it creates, which in turn affects traits," says Joshua Steffen, University of Utah post-doctoral researcher, and co-author on the paper. "By recording the content of the messages (called mRNA) of all the genes in each of the 19 different strains, we have captured information vital to understand which genes are functional in a given strain." This information is critical in understanding how differences in DNA and gene sequences lead to differences in traits.

Arabidopsis is a small flowering plant native to Europe, Asia and northern Africa, and is to plant research as mice and fruit flies are to understanding the molecular nature of animals. Because of its small size, short life cycle and prolific seed production, it is ideal for research. It has one of the smaller genomes among plants, thus facilitating genome sequencing studies, and was the first plant genome to be fully sequenced in 2001.

The study was funded in part by the National Science Foundation, and conducted in collaboration with researchers at Kansas State University, the University of Oxford, the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory of the Max Plank Society, and the University of Bath.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Xiangchao Gan, Oliver Stegle, Jonas Behr, Joshua G. Steffen, Philipp Drewe, Katie L. Hildebrand, Rune Lyngsoe, Sebastian J. Schultheiss, Edward J. Osborne, Vipin T. Sreedharan, Andr้ Kahles, Regina Bohnert, G้raldine Jean, Paul Derwent, Paul Kersey, Eric J. Belfield, Nicholas P. Harberd, Eric Kemen, Christopher Toomajian, Paula X. Kover, Richard M. Clark, Gunnar Rไtsch, Richard Mott. Multiple reference genomes and transcriptomes for Arabidopsis thaliana. Nature, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/nature10414

Cite This Page:

University of Utah. "Little plant tells big stories: Researchers capture codes to genetic variation in 'model' plant." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110829114911.htm>.
University of Utah. (2011, August 29). Little plant tells big stories: Researchers capture codes to genetic variation in 'model' plant. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110829114911.htm
University of Utah. "Little plant tells big stories: Researchers capture codes to genetic variation in 'model' plant." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110829114911.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) — West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) — Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) — The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) — A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) 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:

More Coverage


Arabidopsis: Thanks to Its Flexible Genome, the Plant Can Adapt to Various Environmental Conditions

Aug. 28, 2011 — The plant Arabidopsis thaliana is found throughout the entire northern hemisphere. But how does this small, inconspicuous plant deal with all these different extremes of environmental conditions? In ... read more
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