Findings that two mutated genes alter plant growth and development could result in improved plants and enhanced cancer treatments, according to Purdue University researchers.
This mutant plant is stouter and bushier than a normal plant because of an alteration in two genes related to human multidrug resistance genes. A Purdue University research team led by Angus Murphy is uncovering functions of these genes and the related proteins that could result in heartier plants and improved treatment for human cancers. (Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Tom Campbell)
In a paper published in Thursdays (6/26) issue of Nature, the scientists report that these abnormal, or mutant plants are able to reorient themselves in response to light and gravity more rapidly than normal, or "wild type," plants. Apparently plants behave differently in accordance with how a growth hormone moves through them. Because the two genes affecting transport of the hormone are related to human genes that impact the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs, controlling these genes may allow physicians to better determine the dosage of cancer drugs.
"We now know that if we can modify these genes, we can control the growth of the plant in very specific regions," said Angus Murphy, assistant professor of horticulture and senior author of the paper. "This means we might be able to change the shape of upper portions of a plant or develop a more robust root system."
Susan A. Steeves | Purdue News
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