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Crop Biotech Update

Competition Turns On Plant Genes

May 17, 2017

A group of researchers from the University of Michigan and University of California Davis studying the sociability of clovers have found that a single gene coding for UDP-glucose flavonoid 3-O-glucosyltransferase plays a key role in plant diversity and competition.

The coded flavonoid enzyme was found to be involved in many plant interactions, including those with nitrogen fixing bacteria. The researchers found that the gene's transcript levels rise when the plants compete with others and decrease when surrounded by members of the same plants. Another result involved the correlation of the genes. What made the UDP-glucose flavonoid 3-O-glucosyltransferase gene stand out so prominently is that all of the other genes responding to different types of competitors stayed grouped together. The team initially thought the genes would be scattered everywhere, but they reacted the same way.

For more details about this research, read the news release from the MSU Today.