Plant Genetics

Definition - What does Plant Genetics mean?

In biology, a gene is a unit of heredity transferred from a parent to offspring. Regions or groups of genes make up a plant or animal's DNA structure and are what determine some characteristics of the offspring. More simply put, a gene contains a particular set of instructions.

In horticulture, a plant's genes influence the development of the plant, as they are parts of its chromosomes and are inherited through sexual propagation.

Plant genes or genetics are what researchers aim to manipulate in their quest for genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Gregor Mendel was the founding father of the genetic laws of inheritance. In his research he studied the inherited traits of pisum sativum (peas), such as their shapes, sizes, and colors. Likewise, Barbara McClintock discovered the jumping genes while she was studying maize.




MaximumYield explains Plant Genetics

Just like any other multi-cellular organism, the fundamental principles of genetics is the same in the inheritances of plants. For example, just like in animals, plants also have somatic mutations regularly. However, it is possible that the mutations can contribute to the germ line as flowers develop at the ends of branches composed of somatic cells.

These mutant branches are known as sports and can also be cultivated if they are economically desirable. Polyploidy is also more common and so plant genetics are a bit different from those of animals. (Polyploid are those having more than two paired (homologous) sets of chromosomes.

There are two ways by which genes can be transformed: the gene gun method and the agrobacterium method.

The gene gun method is especially useful in transforming monocot species like corn and rice and is also known as biolistics.

The agrobacterium method has been successfully practiced in dicots, i.e. broadleaf plants, such as soybeans and tomatoes, for many years. It is also effective in monocots like grasses, including corn and rice. This method is also preferred over the gene gun method as it is easier to monitor due to a greater frequency of single-site insertions of foreign DNA.

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