Just as parents play an important role in guiding their children’s growth, plants that are under greater stress can also pass on enhanced “memory” to the next generation, according to a new study from Pennsylvania State University. It is reported that this team of geneticists has successfully manipulated the expression of a gene in plants to make it more resilient to environmental changeand and to be able to pass on this trait to future generations.
From left, Xiaodong Yang, Hardik Hundariya and Sally Mackenzie (pictured from Penn State)
Environment is an important factor in the introduction, so that plants can not only adapt to changing conditions, but also pass this survival strategy on to the next generation, so that it “wins on the starting line”.
A known MSH1 gene has long played a key role in plant resistance studies. In the new study, the team at Pennsylvania State University found that amoeba could inactivate it in extreme conditions such as drought or heat waves.
Cross-generational MSH1 gene memory lineage (from: Nature Communications)
The researchers conducted a variety of studies of this model plant and found that it had a variety of coping strategies, such as regulating growth, limiting ground growth, changing the way root systems grow, and regulating flowering time.
Interestingly, these “genetic memories” can also be transmitted up to five generations. If the parent plant experiences a stressful living environment, some ( but not all ) of its offspring will exhibit the same coping behavior.
Comparison of multiple growth patterns for memory and non-memory plants
Lead researcher Sally Mackenzie said: “The study found that these memories of quilted plants can be inherited from the subgenies, but only in part of the subgenies.”
This leads to definable gene change symposia expression, which affects the plant’s ghetto plasticity. But we think that all plants have this ability, and that the conditions described in the study are an important part of sending environmental information to future generations.
The team is known to have used different methods to turn off the MSH1 gene. In some cases, they chose naturally mutated plants that already have genes inactivated.
In other cases, RNA interference is used to close it. But at the end of the study, the team found that the end result was similar.
Epigenetics may help reverse stereotypes about genetically modified foods, the researchers say, because it does not involve adding new genes (which are often criticized for their genetic engineering), but rather focuses on controlling gene expression.
For example, some researchers believe that genetically edited cabbage and salmon should not theoretically be classified as genetically modified because they simply mimic natural genetic variation rather than creating new genetic variations, more similar to the thousands of years of selective breeding in humans.
In subsequent studies, the team also tried to turn off the MSH1 gene in tomatoes, soybeans, and rape. Early results and grafting experiments have shown that new technologies may help increase plant yields.
Details of the study have been published in the recent issue of the journal Nature Communications under the title “Pyl of an MSH1 RNAi transgene produces sheritable non-genetic in association with methylome reprogramming.”