Geneticists have created a plant that does not stop growing


13/01/2013

Many people remember the character of the American comedy "Shop of Horrors" Audrey, a carnivorous plant that is grown continuously, causing the admiration of any unsuspecting people. Something similar, but not as sinister managed to create a German geneticists: they moved into tobacco, which does not cease to grow.

Under normal conditions, tobacco (Nicotiana) is known for pretty boring life cycle. It grows for three or four months, according to the information Investor’s Business Daily, reaching 2 meters in height, while his older leaves turn yellow and dry up. After flowering, the plant dies.

However, researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology (IME) in Munster (Germany), blocked the effect of the genetic switch by which the plant ceases to grow, blossom and die. Suppressing this gene, scientists almost got the plant from the fairy tale "Jack and the Beanstalk," which even the old leaves remain green and healthy.

"First our sample has been almost eight years, and it still continues to grow," - said Dirk Prifer (Dirk Prufer), professor of the Department of Functional and Applied Genomics at IME. "Although we regularly trim it, the length of the plant is now six and a half feet tall."

The result of such genetic research is also a number of varieties of millet (an important source of bio-fuel), herbaceous plants, which are faster growing and thick roots. Thanks to the gene-switch, dubbed UPBEAT1, a new kind of millet will never get the signal to stop growth, allowing scientists to hope for the future use of modified plants for higher yield crops intended for biofuel production.

In another study, experts have given the ability to plant genetically modified to glow in the darkness, through the introduction of a bioluminescent marine bacteria gene researchers created with tobacco leaves that are slightly lit.

Scientists from the IME will continue to use genetic engineering to create plants of large size and with longer life cycles. Currently, they are working with a Japanese company to develop the potato, which has the same properties as the continuing growth, and a giant tobacco.

Original in (English.) Livescience.com Translation: M. Potter


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