DNA molecules in moss open door to new biotechnology

November 6, 2009

Plasmids, which are DNA molecules capable of independent replication in cells, have played an important role in gene technology. Researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden have now demonstrated that plasmid-based methods, which had been limited to single-cell organisms such as bacteria and yeasts, can be extended to mosses, opening the door to applications of a number of powerful techniques in plant research.

The findings have been published in the distinguished journal of the USA (PNAS).

Professor Hans Ronne's research team at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and at Uppsala University works with the diminutive Physcomitrella moss, which is widely used in research because its genes are easier to "knock out" than those of other plants. Previous work has also shown that DNA introduced into Physcomitrella cells is capable of self-replication through an as yet uncharacterised process.

The new study, which was led by Dr. Eva Murén and Ph.D. student Anders Nilsson, shows that plasmids introduced into moss cells can be rescued back to without affecting the plasmids' original structures, provided that certain conditions are met. Up to now, various kinds of rearrangements have sharply limited the use of plasmids in animal- and plant-cell research.

"Our work with plasmids in moss suggests that it will be possible to use powerful methods such as gene cloning by complementation and overexpression directly in plant without recourse to single-cell organisms like bacteria or yeasts," says Professor Hans Ronne. "This, in turn, may simplify basic and applied research and biotechnology involving plants."

More information: PNAS article: www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/11/04/0908037106.abstract

Source: Uppsala University (news : web)

Explore further: Stealth technology maintains fitness after sex

Related Stories

Stealth technology maintains fitness after sex

January 12, 2007

Pathogens can become superbugs without their even knowing it, research published today in Science shows. 'Stealth' plasmids - circular 'DNA parasites' of bacteria that can carry antibiotic-resistance genes - produce a protein ...

'Jumping genes' could make for safer gene delivery system

September 26, 2007

To move a gene from point A to point B, scientists and gene therapists have two proven options: a virus, which can effectively ferry genes of interest into cells, and a plasmid, an engineered loop of DNA that can do the same ...

Evolutionary origin of bacterial chromosomes revealed

March 26, 2009

Researchers have unveiled the evolutionary origin of the different chromosomal architectures found in three species of Agrobacterium. A comprehensive comparison of the Agrobacterium sequence information with the genome sequences ...

Recommended for you

Surprisingly, low-toxin MRSA strains may be the real killer

September 3, 2015

The most serious MRSA infections could be those caused by superbugs which produce fewer toxins, as opposed to high toxin strains, according to surprise findings revealed today by scientists from the Department of Biology ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.