Biotech Updates

Modeling Tool Identifies Genes that Control Plant Stress Response

October 7, 2015

An interdisciplinary team of researchers from North Carolina State University and University of California, Davis has developed a modeling algorithm that can identify genes associated with specific biological functions in plants, including their response to drought, high temperatures, and other environmental stresses.

Cranos Williams, professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State said, "The algorithm advances biological modeling techniques, providing further insight into which individual genes are involved in a given biological response."

To make the model work, the team took samples of Arabidopsis plants to see which genes were active, and how active they were. The researchers found activity in 2,700 genes, and presented 931 possible transcription factor/target gene relationships. It was too many to test, but the algorithm narrowed it down to 32 predicted influential relationships between transcription factors and target genes. The researchers found that four of the seven predicted genes were relevant transcription factors. They also found that 17 of the 32 predicted influential relationships – 53 percent – were accurate.

For more details, read the news release at the NC State website.