Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New insights into plant evolution

Date:
March 1, 2013
Source:
Monash University
Summary:
New research has uncovered a mechanism that regulates the reproduction of plants, providing a possible tool for engineering higher yielding crops.

Corn field. New research has uncovered a mechanism that regulates the reproduction of plants, providing a possible tool for engineering higher yielding crops.
Credit: rsooll / Fotolia

New research has uncovered a mechanism that regulates the reproduction of plants, providing a possible tool for engineering higher yielding crops. In a study published today in Science, researchers from Monash University and collaborators in Japan and the US, identified for the first time a particular gene that regulates the transition between stages of the life cycle in land plants.

Related Articles


Professor John Bowman, of the Monash School of Biological Sciences said plants, in contrast to animals, take different forms in alternating generations -- one with one set of genes and one with two sets.

"In animals, the bodies we think of are our diploid bodies -- where each cell has two sets of DNA. The haploid phase of our life cycle consists of only eggs if we are female and sperm if we are male. In contrast, plants have large complex bodies in both haploid and diploid generations," Professor Bowman said.

These two plant bodies often have such different characteristics that until the mid-1800s, when better microscopes allowed further research, they were sometimes thought to be separate species.

Professor Bowman and Dr Keiko Sakakibara, formerly of the Monash School of Biological Sciences and now at Hiroshima University, removed a gene, known as KNOX2 from moss. They found that this caused the diploid generation to develop as if it was a haploid, a phenomenon termed apospory. The equivalent mutations in humans would be if our entire bodies were transformed into either eggs or sperm.

"Our study provides insights into how land plants evolved two complex generations, strongly supporting one theory put forward at the beginning of last century proposing that the complex diploid body was a novel evolutionary invention," Professor Bowman said.

While Professor Bowman's laboratory in the School of Biological Sciences is focused on basic research exploring the evolution and development of land plants, he said there were possible applications for the results as mutations in the gene cause the plant to skip a generation.

One goal in agriculture is apomixis, where a plant produces seeds clonally by skipping the haploid generation and thereby maintaining the characteristics, such as a high yielding hybrid, of the mother plant. Apomixis would mean crops with desirable qualities could be produced more easily and cheaply.

"Gaining a better understanding of the molecular basis of plant reproduction and the regulations of the alternation of generations could provide tools to engineer apomixis -- a breakthrough that would be highly beneficial, especially in developing countries," Professor Bowman said.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. K. Sakakibara, S. Ando, H. K. Yip, Y. Tamada, Y. Hiwatashi, T. Murata, H. Deguchi, M. Hasebe, J. L. Bowman. KNOX2 Genes Regulate the Haploid-to-Diploid Morphological Transition in Land Plants. Science, 2013; 339 (6123): 1067 DOI: 10.1126/science.1230082

Cite This Page:

Monash University. "New insights into plant evolution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130301123314.htm>.
Monash University. (2013, March 1). New insights into plant evolution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130301123314.htm
Monash University. "New insights into plant evolution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130301123314.htm (accessed April 18, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Un-Bee-Lievable: Bees on the Loose After Washington Truck Crash

Un-Bee-Lievable: Bees on the Loose After Washington Truck Crash

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 17, 2015) A truck carrying honey bees overturns near Lynnwood, Washington, spreading boxes of live bees across the highway. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers found a spike in oxytocin occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other&apos;s eyes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dog Flu Spreading in Midwestern States

Dog Flu Spreading in Midwestern States

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Dog flu is spreading in several Midwestern states. Dog daycare centers and veterinary offices are taking precautions. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Rare Whale Spotted in Gulf of Mexico

Raw: Rare Whale Spotted in Gulf of Mexico

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers from the E/V Nautilus had quite a surprise Tuesday, when a curious sperm whale swam around their remotely operated vehicle in the Gulf of Mexico. Cameras captured the encounter. (April 17) 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