Biology News Bites

Now for a little bragging.  Researchers from the University of Minnesota and Massachusetts General Hospital have developed a method to create tobacco plants that are resistant to herbicides without significant changes to the plant’s DNA. They used zinc fingers to change single genes, instead of adding foreign DNA which is the current norm. Daniel Voytas (the Minnesota researcher involved) said that his next steps were to adapt the technology for Arabidopsis thaliana (the most popular plant genetic model) and for rice (the world’s most popular food crop.) To that, I say “Go Gophers!”

In other news, a genetic survey of peoples in Africa suggests that the “Garden of Eden” may reside in Southwest Africa, between Angola and Namibia. This area is home to the Bushmen or San people, who although currently only occupy a small portion of Africa’s vast landscape, once may have occupied a much greater area.


About evolutionofascientist

I'm a 2009 graduate of the University of Minnesota. I majored in genetics, cell biology, and development. I'm currently living in Syracuse, NY and hoping to start grad school in the fall of 2011.
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2 Responses to Biology News Bites

  1. Matthew says:

    So Arabidopsis thaliana is sort of a plant-equivalent to Drosophila or lab mice? Way cool.

    P.S. I’m rss-feed blog stalking you now.

  2. Yup, plant geneticists love their Arapidopsis. I personally prefer fruit flies or mice. But I’ve turned off to plant biology ever since a brutal photosynthesis test in high school.

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