Almost all land plants employ an army of molecular editors who correct errors in their genetic information.
Almost all land plants employ an army of molecular editors who correct errors in their genetic information. Together with colleagues from Hanover, Ulm and Kyoto (Japan), researchers from the University of Bonn have now transferred one of these proofreaders from the moss Physcomitrium patens (previously known as Physcomitrella patens) into a flowering plant. Surprisingly, it performs its work there as reliably as in the moss itself. The strategy could be suitable for investigating certain functions of the plant energy metabolism in more detail. It may also be valuable for developing more efficient crops. The study will be published in the journal The Plant Cell.
Plants differ from animals in that they are capable of photosynthesis. They do this in specialized "mini-organs" (biologists speak of organelles), the chloroplasts. Chloroplasts produce sugar with the help of sunlight, which in turn is used in other organelles, the mitochondria, to produce energy.
Both chloroplasts and mitochondria have their own genetic material. And in both of them this genome contains a lot of errors. "At least that is the case with almost all land plants," explains Dr. Mareike Schallenberg-Rüdinger. The researcher heads a junior research group at the University of Bonn in the Department of Molecular Evolution under Prof. Volker Knoop. "They have to correct these errors so their power supply does not collapse."
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