Plant Synbio, Who Needs It?

Great article from a great blog on plant synthetic biology!

The New Leaf

“Super-sized plants by tweaking just one gene”. A fantastic headline indeed from RIKEN research, in Japan. And I was pretty excited to read the paper associated, even if its title was a little less thrilling:  “Improvement of Arabidopsis Biomass and Cold, Drought and Salinity Stress Tolerance by Modified Circadian Clock-Associated PSEUDO-RESPONSE REGULATORs”. Essentially a viral transcriptional activation domain, VP16 to Arabidopsis circadian regulator PRR5 and showed that that plants expressing this construct have delayed flowering, higher biomass and are more tolerant of drought and salinity stress. You won’t a single mention of circuits, parts or devices in the whole paper. You won’t find a mathematical model, no shred of computer aided design nor standardised parts. The techniques involved in the study were those employed in every molecular plant biology lab the world over. So, why bother with all the hoo ha of Synbio?

Here’s two reasons:

To know why…

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