Plants can stop non-essential gene activity


The plant has capability to make unnecessary genes silent. It holds one genome with a specified million pairs of nucleotides. The genome differ from each cell to cell and change throughout the life stages of a plant. Particular genes must stop at levels in the process of germination of seed to Dormancy. Dormancy is time period in an organism’s life cycle where physical activity temporarily stopped. Also associated with environmental conditions.

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Biologists have found changes in sequence of plant DNA from a research organized by University of Pennsylvania. Using Genetics demonstrated the change acts as direction for stopping the gene activity. Placing proteins to stop gene activity. Managing small bits of DNA helps potentially in growing certain features like fruits and seeds.


“In Plant changes occur according to environmental conditions the part of the genome not needed, or It should stop reliably in each condition. This information is then passed on to daughter cells” said Doris Wagner, senior author on the study and a professor in Penn’s Department of Biology in the School of Arts & Sciences.

Researchers to try by manipulating cells using gene-editing techniques to improve gene activity without adding any foreign genetic material to the plant. Also to concentrate on a gene procedure known as Polycomb repression. The protein complex polycomb discovered in fruit flies. This shows epigenetic modifications rise to gene stopping, protein complexes found later in plants and animals. These polycomb plays major role in all species by defining the identity of cells like leaf cells and flower cells.

Polycomb Response Elements

But some studies involve short portions of DNA called Polycomb Response Elements targeting process in flies, Biologists could not justify accurately about PREs played a broad role in gene silencing in mammals or plants.

The research team studied the Polycomb complex called PRC2. Using datasets collected, they identified 170 segments of DNA in the plant species Arabidopsis thaliana considered likely as PREs. Testing these PREs, they confirmed that similar just as PREs in fruit flies. The researchers then identified 55 transcription factors, proteins secure specific DNA sequences and help regulate how DNA is turned into RNA, which strongly bound to the PREs, and verified 30 of them physically interacted with PRC2. Again went back to the 170 PRE candidates identifying DNA sequences known as Cis Motifs, which are what transcription factors recognize when they scan the genome for their target genes.

Mechanism of recruitment of Polycomb by directions in the DNA plays in species of fruit flies. In the future using these motifs to epigenetically enhance desirable features such as yield or drought effects without significantly changing the sequence.

They found two of the cis motifs compared with two of the previously identified transcription factors. Putting cis motifs in to plant cell genome identified as sufficient for recruiting Polycomb, considering essentially a synthetic PRE.

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In addition, Wagner to investigate PREs, motifs and transcription factors in plant species except Arabidopsis. This process can rapidly change the system, if plant is exposed to water or salt stress.