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Multiple Mutations for Arabidopsis
For the first time, individual "loss-of-function" mutations are available for nearly three-quarters of the genes in a higher organism, the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. These will help researchers determine gene function by seeing how plants with nonfunctional versions of each gene differ from their normal kin.
As published in the 1 August 2003 issue of the journal Science, José M. Alonso led a team of American and Canadian researchers who inserted many thousands of bacterial genes into the Arabidopsis genome and then pinpointed the location of each one.
Surprisingly, they found integration "hot spots" and "cold spots" rather than a random distribution as expected.
To demonstrate the usefulness of the mutant collection for gene function studies, the authors tested the response of mutated genes to ethylene, a plant growth regulator. They found that plants with four specific mutations lacked normal ethylene sensitivity, suggesting that these genes play a role in regulating the response to this hormone.
4 August 2003