New plant DNA libraries provides massive boost to world's plant researchers

06/02/05

Researchers at the University of Warwick's horticultural research arm Warwick HRI have created an extensive new range of libraries of plant DNA that will provide a massive boost to the world's plant researchers. The new collection of DNA libraries is the largest of its type in the world and will provide researchers with a unique resource.

The Warwick researchers have set up a new spin out company "Warwick Plant Genomic Libraries Limited" to develop this powerful new resource for plant researchers. It will be of particular benefit to academic researchers, scientists working in agriculture and horticulture and also to pharmaceutical research teams interested in the medicinal properties of plants.

The new libraries have two key features that will make them particularly attractive to researchers. Firstly, there are genomic libraries from 20 different plant species, a far wider range than is available from other DNA library services. Secondly, the Warwick researchers have been able to create plant DNA libraries with large and "unbiased" inserts that give the best possible representation of the DNA of each species. Genomic DNA libraries usually employ "restriction enzymes" to cut up the DNA but this method may preferentially select only certain regions of DNA and exclude other regions from the final plant "library". The techniques used by the Warwick researchers remove this limitation and make the plant's entire DNA available to researchers.

The new plant DNA libraries include:

Aloe Vera - a plant with interesting medicinal properties and a DNA structure made up of 16,000 megabases (by comparison a human's DNA structure consists of 3,000 megabases)

Catharanthus roseus - a plant which is the only source of two key drugs (vincristine and vinblastine) used in the treatment of a number of cancers.

The library also includes: Apple, Banana, Foxglove, Mint, Olive, Orange, Pineapple, Evening Primrose, Strawberry, Sunflower, Cocoa, Coffee, Ginger, Ginkgo, Ginseng, Grape, Tea and Yew. The company can also create custom DNA libraries for other specific plant species that researchers wish to examine. Further details can be found on the new company's web site: http://www.wpgl.co.uk/

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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