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DNA Molecules In Moss Open Door To New Biotechnology

Plasmids, which are DNA molecules capable of independent replication in cells, have played an important role in gene technology. Researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden have now demonstrated that plasmid-based methods, which had been limited to single-cell organisms such as bacteria and yeasts, can be extended to mosses, opening the door to applications of a number of powerful techniques in plant research.

The findings have been published in the distinguished journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS).

Professor Hans Ronne's research team at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology at Uppsala University works with the diminutive Physcomitrella moss, which is widely used in research because its genes are easier to "knock out" than those of other plants. Previous work has also shown that DNA introduced into Physcomitrella cells is capable of self-replication through an as yet uncharacterised process.
 
 

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