(Added on March 20, 2013.)
Uh, about that freaky thing about plant genetics I mentioned before... This is the gist of the article entitled; 'Cress overturns textbook genetics' by Helen Pearson:
the year 1866, a monk named Gregor Mendel published a Very Important
Scientific Paper. It demonstrated the (more or less) correct rhyme and
reason for determining from two parents what percentage of offspring
would show certain characteristics. Though somewhat obscure in his time,
it today serves as a practical reference for breeders and geneticists
Purdue University (which was where Phil’s mom had studied plants!), a
scientist named Robert Pruitt, with his colleagues, were breeding a line
of Arabidopsis (cress) with a
certain type of mutation in both copies of a gene called HOTHEAD. In
mutated plants, the different parts of the flowers are fused, giving
them an appearance similar to melted crayons.
plants, of course, pass the mutant gene onto their offspring, and so it
would be expected that all their offspring would be the same way.
Except… they aren’t!
` What Pruitt’s team have been finding is that basically, about ten percent of these offspring have perfectly normal flowers,
even though they supposedly have no 'normal' HOTHEAD gene! Not only
that, but many other genes were discovered to have been rewritten as
well! How is this possible?
would seem that the cress must have a template of older genes from
their grandparents (or further back) stored somewhere from which to
revert their mutations. Furthermore, it is speculated that this template
is kept on the plants’ RNA rather than their DNA, as some of the
mutations cannot be traced to the genome itself.
Pruitt says that such gene correction probably occurs in other strains of Arabidopsis
from time to time, but no one really has noticed it yet. Perhaps, he
suggests, the plants do this when they become stressed from something -
such as this particular HOTHEAD mutation.
If other organisms possess the same mechanism, this could explain why
some children who have disease-causing genes only show mild symptoms:
Some of their cells may revert back to a healthier, ‘un-mutated’ state.
If this is so, it may someday make a useful new form of gene therapy.
Great Googly-Moogly! More later. I need go sleepy-bye.
Chris Anna Fullerton | 03/04/2005, 16:26
As usual, I got about five feet of spam on the original blog post... here is [an even more] truncated version: Re: Plants Correct Their Genetic Mistakes!
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