Constance Viloria Term Paper (PC Version) FINAL

Constance Viloria Term Paper (PC Version) FINAL - Plant...

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Plant Physiology Horizontal Gene Transfer To and From Plant Species and What It Means for the Future Constance Viloria Winter 2015-2016 (1823 words) PLANT PHYSIOLOGY 1
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Constance Viloria Plant Physiology Prof. James Campanella April 19, y Horizontal Gene Transfer To and From Plant Species and What It Means for the Future Recent Discoveries and How It Can Be Applied To Benefit Society The species in the Animal and Plant Kingdoms coexist in the world today in a delicate balance that started and can be dated back to millions of years ago. Organisms reproduced and populated as the years went by and this re- sulted in the diversity and evolution of breeds through the passing of genetic information from the parents to the progeny. For a period of time, scientists and the rest of the world believed that this traditional, vertical way is the only method of gene transfer. It is not until recently that new studies showed successful horizontal transfer of functional genetic information not only from one specie to another, but also from a lower to a highly evolved class of species (Crisp et al. 2015). Horizontal gene transfer is the process of sharing genetic informa- tion between two non-mating species and is more common and highly critical PLANT PHYSIOLOGY 2
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for the survival of the unicellular species classified as prokaryotes (Richard- son et al. 2006). According to Ferguson and Heinemann (2002), the evolution of prokaryotic species as a result of obtaining and altering specific genes that lead to important characteristics in the organism is due to horizontal gene transfer. Such characteristics include keeping a beneficial relationship with another organism living in close proximity known as symbiosis, antibiotic re- sistance and virulence. Furthermore, the mechanism is also a way of trans- porting and translocating vital molecules such as proteins to and from prokaryotes (Ferguson and Heinemann 2002). Horizontal gene transfer is not as common and readily observed in the majority of multicellular organisms known as eukaryotes, but according to Han and Luan (2015), recent findings have indicated that genes from mi- crobes have been transferred horizontally to more highly evolved species such as plants and animals. This concept of horizontal gene transfer between prokaryotes and eukaryotes, as mentioned by Ferguson and Heinemann (2002), is something that used to be frowned upon as a result of being more of a “laboratory phenomenon" rather than naturally-occurring. As reported by Han and Luan (2015), the products of gene transcription with an approximate length of 19-25 nucleotides known as small RNAs, move between plants to animals and plants to viruses in a horizontal fashion. These small RNAs function as regulatory molecules and play an important role in a field of biological processes that are required for differentiation and growth of the species’ organs, genome modification and adaptive responses PLANT PHYSIOLOGY 3
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to an assortment of biotic and abiotic stresses from the environment (Han and Luan 2015). In addition, Han and Luan (2015) noted in their report that
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