Noisy gene atlas to help reveal how plants 'hedge their bets' in race for survival

Phys.org | January 24, 2019

As parents of identical twins will tell you, they are never actually identical, even though they have the same genes. This is also true in the plant world. Now, new research by the University of Cambridge is helping to explain why 'twin' plants, with identical genes, grown in identical environments continue to display unique characteristics all of their own. Plant scientists at the Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University (SLCU) have built a gene expression atlas that maps the 'noisy genes' of genetically identical plants. The research, published today in Molecular Systems Biology, found that around 9% of the genes in otherwise identical plants are highly variable in the way that they behave. Interestingly, many of these highly variable (noisiest) genes help a plant respond to its environment, including genes involved in reacting to light, temperature, pathogens, and nutrients. This variation in gene behavior could be useful in nature for populations of genetically similar plants to hedge against environmental stress such as drought, high salinity or extreme temperatures. This means that there will always a few plants in the population that is prepared to survive different stresses due to their variable gene behaviors (hedging their bets). But this variability can also be a problem, such as in agriculture where environments are more controlled and farmers want uniform crops that germinate and flower at the same time and respond equally to applications of fertilizers and water.

Spotlight

A biomarker (short for biological marker) is a measurable indicator of some biological state or condition. The biomarker can be measured objectively and consistently. Biomarkers play significant roles in today's clinical medicine. The Biomarker allows clinicians to detect illness, predict its course and the effectiveness of treatment. One example of a commonly used biomarker in medicine is prostate-specific antigen (PSA). The search for more cost-effective, measurable biomarkers continues to drive the pharmaceutical industry. The more biomarkers clinicians will have in their toolbox the closer we will get to precision medicine.

Spotlight

A biomarker (short for biological marker) is a measurable indicator of some biological state or condition. The biomarker can be measured objectively and consistently. Biomarkers play significant roles in today's clinical medicine. The Biomarker allows clinicians to detect illness, predict its course and the effectiveness of treatment. One example of a commonly used biomarker in medicine is prostate-specific antigen (PSA). The search for more cost-effective, measurable biomarkers continues to drive the pharmaceutical industry. The more biomarkers clinicians will have in their toolbox the closer we will get to precision medicine.

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IPA’s Subsidiary BioStrand and BriaCell Announce Artificial Intelligence Collaboration and License Agreement

BriaCell Therapeutics Corp. | December 01, 2022

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MycoWorks | October 19, 2022

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Neumora Therapeutics Announces $112 Million Series B Financing

Neumora | October 12, 2022

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