FANCM plays key role in inheritance

April 30, 2012
This image shows the leptotene stage during the meiosis of germ cells in thale cress: halving of the number of the chromosomes is accompanied by a recombination of hereditary information. Credit: Botanical Institute II, KIT

Scientists of KIT and the University of Birmingham have identified relevant new functions of a gene that plays a crucial role in Fanconi anemia, a life-threatening disease.

The FANCM gene is known to be important for the stability of the genome. Now, the researchers found that FANCM also plays a key role in the recombination of genetic information during inheritance. For their studies, the scientists used thale cress as a . Their results are newly published by the journal The .

Stability of the genome is ensured by a series of mechanisms. If these are lacking, the risk of cancer and other severe diseases is increased. Fanconi anemia is a recessive associated with dysplasia, degeneration of bone marrow, and an increased risk of leukemia and tumors. FANCM is one of the genes responsible for Fanconi anemia. So far, the deactivation of FANCM has been known to lead to genome instability in , i.e. body cells that are not involved in reproduction. "We have now proven that FANCM does not only ensure genome stability in somatic cells, but also controls inheritance," explains Dr. Alexander Knoll from the Botanical Institute II of KIT, first author of the publication in The Plant Cell.

According to the findings, FANCM plays a key role in the combination of paternal and maternal traits in the . The gene can be detected in nearly all organisms, from bacteria to yeast to plants to man. For their studies, the researchers from Karlsruhe and Birmingham used thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) as a . The genome of this plant belonging to the family of cruciferous plants is relatively small and completely sequenced. The researchers found that the FANCM-homologous gene At-FANCM ensures ordered distribution and recombination of the genetic material during the meiosis of the germ cells in thale cress. "These findings cannot only be applied in biomedicine, but also in plant breeding in order to specifically improve the properties of usable crops," explains the Head of the Botanical Institute II of KIT, Professor Holger Puchta.

Explore further: Sequencing thousand and one genomes

More information: Plant Cell, DOI: 10.1105/tpc.112.096644

Related Stories

Sequencing thousand and one genomes

September 29, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tuebingen, Germany, reported the completion of the first genomes of wild strains of the flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana. The entire ...

Plant hormone auxin triggers a genetic switch

April 18, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- During the development of organisms, a particular event repeatedly occurs: a signal appears temporarily, but the processes it triggers must be maintained – for example, when the fate of cells in the ...

Evolution can cause a rapid reduction in genome size

April 21, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- It would appear reasonable to assume that two closely related plant species would have similar genetic blueprints. However, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, ...

Precise molecular surgery in the plant genome

April 24, 2012

Crop plants have always been adapted to the needs of man by breeding for them to carry more fruit, survive droughts, or resist pests. Green biotechnology now adds new tools to the classical breeding methods for a more rapid ...

Recommended for you

How bees naturally vaccinate their babies

July 31, 2015

When it comes to vaccinating their babies, bees don't have a choice—they naturally immunize their offspring against specific diseases found in their environments. And now for the first time, scientists have discovered how ...

Researchers design first artificial ribosome

July 29, 2015

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University have engineered a tethered ribosome that works nearly as well as the authentic cellular component, or organelle, that produces all the proteins ...

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.