Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Unravel the Reproduction Process of Multiple Genome Plants

January 16, 2013

Researchers are now starting to have an idea on some plants' ability to duplicate their entire genomes while continuing to reproduce. Most plants, including crops, at some point in history have duplicated their genomes, giving them two or more copies of each of the instructions to build the plant. These plants have few problems reproducing normally.

In a collaborative research by Harvard and Purdue universities, scientists found a species that does reproduce as both a diploid and tetraploid - Arabidopsis arenosa, a cousin of the standard research plant Arabidopsis thaliana. By comparing the DNA sequences of the whole genomes of plants, they detected the genetic differences between the tetraploid and diploid versions of the species.

Many genes known to play a role in meiosis, or cell division, were different in the tetraploids as compared to the diploids. In particular, the gene Asynaptic1, which controls the organization of chromosome pairs during reproduction, was mutated in tetraploids.Of the plants tested, 95 percent of the tetraploids shared the same mutation in Asynaptic1, while 95 percent of the diploids did not contain this variant. This suggests that the mutation in Asynaptic1 is involved in the adaptation of the meiotic machinery needed to work with four copies of the genome.

View the news release of Purdue University at http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2013/Q1/scientists-learning-how-multiple-genome-plants-reproduce.html.