DNA molecules in moss open door to new biotechnology

Nov 06, 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/200… /0908037106.abstract

Source: Uppsala University (news : web)

Explore further: Engineers devise technology for rapidly testing drug-delivery vehicles in zebrafish

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Stealth technology maintains fitness after sex

Jan 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 prot ...

Evolutionary origin of bacterial chromosomes revealed

Mar 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 ...

Blocking the spread of antibiotic resistance in bacteria

Dec 18, 2008

It's as simple as A, T, G, C. Northwestern University scientists have exploited the Watson-Crick base pairing of DNA to provide a defensive tool that could be used to fight the spread of antibiotic resistance in bacteria ...

'Jumping genes' could make for safer gene delivery system

Sep 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 ...

Recommended for you

MaxBin: Automated sorting through metagenomes

15 hours ago

Microbes – the single-celled organisms that dominate every ecosystem on Earth - have an amazing ability to feed on plant biomass and convert it into other chemical products. Tapping into this talent has ...

User comments : 0