UConn researcher identifies mutant plant that offers insight into how plants produce cell walls

In Connecticut, a UConn researcher has identified a mutant plant that offers insight into how plants produce cell walls, which may ultimately reap applications for agricultural productivity and biofuel production. Developing mutant plants is a common procedure for genetic researchers who want to learn about the activity of genes that are sequenced but whose functions are still unknown.

To understand the functions of these genes, researchers activate or knock out different genes and then observe the phenotypic traits of the resulting mutants, looking for any interesting characteristics. In developing and analyzing more than 12,000 mutant specimens, the group identified one that showed developmental defects in the way stem cells differentiated into the two types of tissue that transport water and nutrients inside plants.

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