Biologists have vastly expanded understanding of the biological machinery controlling the intricate process by which plant roots burgeon from single cells into complex tissues. A Duke-led teams discovery of new components of the root-development pathway in the mustard plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, represents both a scientific and technical achievement, the scientists said.
Scientifically, Arabidopsis is a basic biological model for all flowering plants, so the finding offers insights into a critical function of all such plants, including crop plants, the researchers said. Further, since the root is a useful model for tissue development in general, basic findings regarding the root-development pathway could offer insights into how complex tissues are generated from immature cells, called stem cells.
Technically, the genomic analytical method they used also will offer biologists a highly useful approach to discovering the components of complex biological pathways governing development, the researchers said. Their statistical "meta-analysis" technique involved using computational methods to integrate data from multiple genetic analyses using several DNA microarrays -- popularly known as "gene chips." Each of these chips contained some 24,000 genes representing nearly the entire genome of the Arabidopsis plant.
Monte Basgall | EurekAlert!
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