Precise Molecular Surgery in the Plant Genome
New Gene Targeting Method Uses Natural Repair Mechanism of Plants/ Gene Manipulation Efficiency Is Increased by Two Orders of Magnitude
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 and efficient improvement of plant properties.
Thale cress blossom: Common thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) is used as a model plant in many biotechnology experiments. (Photo: H. Puchta/ KIT)
A biotechnological technique developed by KIT botanists to more precisely and reliably install or modify genetic information in the plant genome is now presented by the expert journal PNAS. (DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1202191109).
The new method is based on the natural repair mechanism of plants. So-called homologous recombination repairs the genome when the genome strands in the cell break. “Using an appropriate enzyme, i.e. molecular scissors, we first make a cut at the right point in the genome and then supply the necessary patch to repair this cut,” says Friedrich Fauser from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, who is the first author of the PNAS publication. “A part of this patch is the new gene piece we want to install. The rest is done by the repair service of the cell.”
Due to this trick, the method that is referred to as “in planta gene targeting” (IPGT) is highly reliable and the new genetic information is incorporated in the genome precisely at the point desired. In principle, IPGT may be applied to every plant. “This is a big advantage compared to conventional methods that work for certain plants only and produce a lot of rejects,” explains Professor Holger Puchta, who holds the Chair for Molecular Biology and Biochemistry of Plants at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. “Thanks to appropriate molecular scissors and patches and the natural repair mechanism of the cell, IPGT is about 100 times more efficient than techniques used so far.”
With their experiments on the model plant of thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana), the researchers of KIT, in cooperation with the company SunGene GmbH, a subsidiary of BASF Plant Science having its office at Gatersleben, have now succeeded in furnishing evidence of the fact that IPGT works in plants. “The next step towards broader application in biotechnolgoy will be the transfer of the principle to other plants and the development of appropriate scissors and patches,” says Puchta. In this way, the favorable properties of wild species can be transferred rapidly to crop plants. The long-term objective is the optimum use of natural resources for the production of food and vegetable raw materials.
The paper in the portal of the journal PNAS:
The homepage of the working group of Professor Puchta.
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is a public corporation according to the legislation of the state of Baden-Württemberg. It fulfills the mission of a university and the mission of a national research center of the Helmholtz Association. KIT focuses on a knowledge triangle that links the tasks of research, teaching, and innovation.
For further information, please contact:
Presse, Kommunikation und Marketing
Phone: +49 721 608-48121
Fax: +49 721 608-45681
margarete lehne∂kit edu
Monika Landgraf | EurekAlert!
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
New technique promises tunable laser devices
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute
Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...