A gene-switching mechanism dating back 400 million years to the very first plants that made it onto land has been found by plant biologists at UC Davis. A family of genes required for stem and leaf development in flowering plants is controlled in the same way in everything from mosses to a Douglas fir, according to postdoctoral researcher Sandra Floyd and John Bowman, professor of plant biology at UC Davis.
The mechanism depends on microRNAs, short pieces of RNA that switch genes off by interfering with messenger RNAs that are produced when genes are read.
Floyd and Bowman looked at a family of genes found in all major groups of land plants called class III HD-Zip genes. They found that these genes are controlled by microRNAs and that the microRNA binding region is almost identical in moss, liverworts, club moss, ferns, Douglas fir, Mexican yew and Arabidopsis, a flowering plant often used in laboratory research.
Andy Fell | University of California - Davis
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Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz (Germany) together with scientists from Dresden, Leipzig, Sofia (Bulgaria) and Madrid (Spain) have now developed and characterized a novel, metal-organic material which displays electrical properties mimicking those of highly crystalline silicon. The material which can easily be fabricated at room temperature could serve as a replacement for expensive conventional inorganic materials used in optoelectronics.
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