Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


’Miracle’ moss to give up its secrets


University of Leeds genetics researchers are part of an international project to determine the genome sequence of the fast-growing moss, Physcomitrella patens. Understanding how this British weed works will help scientists get to the root of how other species live and grow and, potentially, improve their resilience.

The quick-growing moss has been used in plant research for over 30 years as it’s easy to cultivate in laboratories. Genetic information from the project will help investigators explain why some varieties of moss can survive extreme conditions:

Lead UK academic Professor Cove explained why the moss is so special: “Mosses were among the first plants to colonise the land, 450 million years ago. They can do many of the things that the flowering plants have forgotten. Some of their ’primitive’ traits – like the ability to survive extremes of dehydration – would be useful in modern crops. You can take a Victorian sample of some mosses and bring them ’back’ to life years on by just adding water. By studying the genes controlling these traits in the moss, we should be able to identify how these characteristics could be re-awoken in flowering plants.”

Moss expert Professor David Cove and his team will work with Professor Ralph Quatrano from St. Louis and Professor Brent Mishler from the University of California. The sequencing will be carried out by the US Department of Energy. The project builds on 30 years of research in Leeds, Japan, Germany, Switzerland and the USA.

The reasons for mapping the moss’s genome can be found in another international research project. Professor Cove said: “The human genome project is helping us understand genetic causes of disease - and to develop new therapies. It’s clear that much of our knowledge came by comparing the genomes of humans with those of much simpler animals, like flies and worms. Soon, we’ll be able to do the same thing by comparing the genomes of simple and complex plants.”

The genome of the moss is larger than that of the first plant genome sequenced, ’Wonder Weed’, Arabidopsis thaliana – a simple flowering plant used by plant scientists worldwide as a model for the study of plant development.

Hannah Love | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>