STUDY: New Insights Found into How Plants Get Their Traits

By Michael Stebbins • August 23, 2016

The following is from an abstract of a study by the Salk Institute for Biological Studies on how plants get their traits. 

Scientists have gained insights into what makes some plants drought tolerant or disease resistant, among other traits. A new technique, developed by Salk Institute scientists, rapidly maps regions of DNA targeted by regulatory proteins.

Revealing this landscape of protein-binding zones on DNA, collectively dubbed the “cistrome,” shows how plants control where and when genes are expressed. Previous methods for mapping the cistrome in plant cells were difficult and slow, but the new approach, detailed in the May 19, 2016 issue ofCell, overcomes those hurdles to offer a sweeping view of this critical aspect of genetic regulation.

“This is one of the first efforts to globally characterize all the regulatory elements in a plant genome,” says senior author Joseph Ecker, professor and director of Salk’s Genomic Analysis Laboratory and holder of the Salk International Council Chair in Genetics. “The cistrome has been a missing piece of information for trying to understand how plants function.”

To read the entire abstract and study, please visit the Salk Institute for Biological Studies website

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