Some cultivars of arabadopsis can duplicate their genomes without undergoing cell division.
Their study is the first to show that a plant’s ability to dramatically rebound after being cut down relies on a process called genome duplication, in which individual cells make multiple copies of all of their genetic content.
Genome duplication is not new to science; researchers have known about the phenomenon for decades. But few have pondered its purpose, said University of Illinois animal biology professor Ken Paige, who conducted the study with postdoctoral researcher Daniel Scholes.
“Most herbaceous plants – 90 percent – duplicate their genomes,” Paige said. “We wanted to know what this process was for.”
In a 2011 study, Paige and Scholes demonstrated that plants that engage in rampant genome duplication also rebound more vigorously after being damaged. The researchers suspected that genome duplication was giving the plants the boost they needed to overcome adversity.
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