Biotech Updates

Plant Clock Gene Also Works in Human Cells

December 3, 2010

Circadian clocks of humans and plants were recently found to be regulated by a newly discovered JMJD5 or ‘Jumonii-containing domain 5 gene'. The gene discovered and isolated from Arabidopsis by Stacey Harmer and colleagues at the University of California Davis, College of Biological Sciences, codes for a protein that can carry out chemical modification in the DNA and can likely regulate how genes are turned on and off like a part of a clock oscillator in both human and plant cells.

Deficiency of this gene in both plant and human cells gave rise to cells with fast-running circadian clock. Deficient plant cells inserted with the human gene revert back to normal, and so are human cells inserted with the plant gene. The paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports that the similarity of the genes and its function in both plants and humans could be an example of convergent evolution wherein two organisms have similar solution to a problem but from different starting points.

The original news article can be seen at