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New genome engineering tool for modifying plant genes

Researchers at the University of Minnesota and Massachusetts General Hospital have used a genome engineering tool they developed to make a model crop plant herbicide-resistant without significant changes to its DNA.

The new approach has the potential to help scientists modify plants to produce food, fuel and fiber sustainably while minimizing concerns about genetically modified organisms

For the study, the researchers created a customized enzyme called a zinc finger nuclease (ZFN) to change single genes in tobacco plant cells.

Zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs) are engineered enzymes that bind to specific DNA sequences and introduce modifications at or near the binding site. The standard way to genetically modify an organism is to introduce foreign genes into a genome without knowing where they will be incorporated. The random nature of the standard method has given rise to concerns about potential health and environmental hazards of genetically modified organisms.

by S. C.
02 may 2009, Technical Area > Science News

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