Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Discover Way to Manipulate Genes for Abiotic Stresses

April 1, 2015

In Australia, researchers have discovered ‘switcher' genes, a microRNA mechanism that controls whether a cell destroys or represses the mRNA molecules in plants. With the discovery, the team will be able to manipulate these, allowing them to boost an organism's environmental adaptation. Their results come from years of research on Arabidopsis to reveal the underlying mechanism.

"The presence of these genes ‘switches on' one of the two options, destruction or repression. If certain cells produce one switcher (DRB2) then that keeps the gene products in reserve, ready to use in an emergency. If the other one, DRB1, is present, then the gene products are destroyed," said Dr. Rodrigo Reis, the lead author from the University of Sydney.

Read the article on the Biofuels Digest website.