Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Discover Beneficial Jumping Gene

August 28, 2013

Geneticists at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) have discovered a transposon that benefits its host organism. Transposons, also called jumping genes, are DNA elements that multiply and change their location within an organism's genome.

The researchers worked on Arabidopsis, and found that the COPIA-R7 transposon, which has jumped into the plant disease resistance gene RPP7, enhances its host's immunity to a pathogenic microorganism from a large group of fungus-like parasites that cause a number of plant diseases.

"We provide a new example for an 'adaptive transposon insertion' event - transposon insertions that can have beneficial effects for their respective host organisms - and uncover the mechanistic basis of its beneficial effects for plants," said Thomas Eulgem, UCR associate professor and senior author. The research paper published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is available at: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/08/09/1312545110.abstract.

More details are available from the UCR news release at: http://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/16990.