Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

When leaves fall, more is occurring than a change of weather

23.09.2008
MU researchers identify genetic pathway of abscission, which could lead to future economic benefits

A falling leaf often catches a poet's eye, but scientists also wonder about the phenomenon that causes leaves to fall, or abscission in plants. Abscission is the physiological process plants use to separate entire organs, such as leaves, petals, flowers and fruit, that allow plants to discard non-functional or infected organs.

University of Missouri researchers have uncovered the genetic pathway that controls abscission in the plant species Arabidopsis thaliana. The ability to control abscission in plants is of special interest to those in the commercial fruit tree and cut flower industries, which rely heavily on abscission-promoting or inhibiting agents to regulate fruit quality and pre-harvest fruit drop.

"Understanding the physiological mechanism by which plants control abscission is important for understanding both plant development and plant defense mechanisms," said John Walker, director of the MU Interdisciplinary Plant Group at the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center. "Insight into the process of abscission in Arabidopsis thaliana provides a foundation for understanding this fundamental physiological process in other plant species."

Plants abscise an organ for a number of reasons, according Walker. Aged leaves, for example, may be shed to facilitate the recycling of nutrients, ripening fruits dropped to promote seed dispersal and infected or diseased floral organs discarded to prevent the spread of disease. However, why Arabidopsis thaliana is a small flowering plant that is native to Europe, Asia and northwestern Africa, sheds its floral parts after maturation is unclear. The floral part on the plant does not take significant space and abscission does not appear to serve an obvious function. Yet, the genes for abscission have been there for a really long time, Walker said.

Previous studies analyzing abscission in plants have implicated several different genes and gene products. Walker and his colleagues are the first to identify a pathway of genes involved in the process of abscission in Arabidopsis by using a combination of molecular genetics and imagine techniques.

"The process of abscission is a phenomenon that we have yet to fully understand," said Walker, who is also a professor of biological sciences in MU's College of Arts and Science. "Several different genes are involved in the process. Instead of looking at individual genes or proteins, we looked at an entire network at once to see how the difference genes work together in abscission."

Kelsey Jackson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.missouri.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Bioinvasion on the rise
15.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht Litter Levels in the Depths of the Arctic are On the Rise
10.02.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>