Biotech Updates

Experts Discover and Start to Crack the Epigenetic Code

August 24, 2022

Pennsylvania State University molecular plant geneticists conducted the first-ever investigation on epigenetic reprogramming code and the reprogramming effects, which are vital for breeding crops that can withstand extreme weather caused by climate change.

When plants sense environmental triggers such as drought or extreme weather, they naturally reprogram their genetic material for survival. To breed more resilient crops, the researchers stress that the chemical code that turns on those changes can be deciphered and duplicated. Reprogramming can result in the expressing and overexpressing of some genes, while others are silenced.

In a previous study, the researchers found that manipulating the gene MSH1 enabled them to control a broad array of plant-resiliency networks. When MSH1 was silenced, the plant was induced to detect stress and adjust its growth, change root configuration, delay flowering time, etc.

In their latest study, they manipulated MSH1 to trigger at least four distinct nongenetic states to impact plant stress response and growth vigor. Upon comparing the data from these states, they were able to pinpoint gene targets of epigenetic change within the genome where they could locate and decode data vital for plant growth.

Find out more from Penn State.

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