Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Unveil Mechanism that Regulates Plant Reproduction

March 13, 2013

A research study was able to identify for the first time a particular gene that regulates the transition between stages of the life cycle in land plants, providing interesting clues about plant evolution.

Professor John Bowman and Dr. Keiko Sakakibara, formerly of the Monash School of Biological Sciences and now at Hiroshima University, removed a gene, known as KNOX2 from moss. They found that this caused the diploid generation to develop as if it was a haploid, a phenomenon known as apospory. The equivalent mutations in humans would be if our entire bodies were transformed into either eggs or sperm. The study thus provides insights into how land plants evolved two complex generations, strongly supporting one theory put forward at the beginning of last century proposing that the complex diploid body was a novel evolutionary invention.

See Monash University's news release at http://www.monash.edu.au/news/show/study-provides-insights-into-plant-evolution.