View Full Version : Study reveals plant 'stem cell'

09-24-2005, 02:34 PM

Study reveals plant 'stem cell'

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/40836000/jpg/_40836932_plant_genome203.jpg Scientists looked at cells controlling growth

Scientists have unlocked the genetic process which helps control plant growth and breeding.

A University of Edinburgh study has pinpointed a gene called TCP20 which determines cell division and cell growth regulation.

Researchers believe the discovery of the plant "stem cell" could be used to create bigger crop yields and new varieties of ornamental plants.

The work appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The TCP20 gene was discovered in a mustard-like plant called Arabidopsis, but is thought to be present in most plant species.

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/shared/img/o.gifhttp://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/v3/start_quote_rb.gif Plants have stem cells just like animals http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/v3/end_quote_rb.gif

Dr Peter Doerner
University of Edinburgh

Scientists had first predicted TCP20's existence five years ago, but, until now, it had proved difficult to pinpoint a specific gene that regulates both cell division and cell growth.

The study team said any gene which controls these two key functions plays a crucial role in the growth process.

In division, cells split in two to form daughter cells which, in turn, make more plant tissue.

Cell growth regulation is the mechanism which ensures new cells do not grow too big or become too small to sustain themselves.

By identifying TCP20, scientists will potentially be able to manipulate plant growth with a greater degree of sophistication than at present.

Growth regulation

Dr Peter Doerner, of the university's Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences, said: "Plants have stem cells just like animals, and just like in animals, these divide infrequently.

"Plants grow continuously to produce leaves, flowers and roots and, to ensure that enough cells are produced to make these organs, cell division and cell growth must be rapidly and forcefully regulated in the daughters of stem cells." Dr Doerner said the findings had fundamental importance for understanding plant growth and breeding. He added: "Altered activity of this gene could affect the size of leaves or roots in crops, while activity changes restricted to just flower buds could, for example, change the shape of petals." Not sure if this one goes under cure forum though:D