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July 23, 2013

Some Plants Duplicate DNA to Overcome Adversity

Colorful tags mark pots containing Arabidopsis thaliana, a flowering plant in the mustard family.

Researchers examining why some plants grow larger and faster and reproduce more successfully after being grazed upon by animals than they otherwise would found that some cultivars of A. thaliana can duplicate their chromosomes up to five times without undergoing cell division, a process that boosts their productivity above that of plants not damaged by grazing. The process of duplicating their chromosomes again and again without undergoing cell division is called "endoreduplication."

The research, conducted by Ken Paige, an animal biology professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (U of I), and doctoral student Daniel Scholes, is the first to examine the connection between the miraculous burst of growth and reproductive fitness that occurs in many plants after they have been grazed and endoreduplication.

This research was supported by the National Science Foundation and the University of Illinois Research Board. To learn more, see the U of I news release Some plants duplicate their DNA to overcome adversity. (Date of Image: July 2011)


Credit: L. Brian Stauffer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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