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Plant Growth Questions


Your company is growing plants that produce a very valuable chemical X in their floral petals. Genes responsible for the biosynthesis of this metabolite are Gene XAGeneXB, and GeneXC. These genes express only in petals because of the petal-specific transcription factor, TFX, which regulates them.

These plants cannot be used for the commercial production of X because:

  • they do not produce many flowers;
  • their flowers are small in size and
  • flowering is seasonal since these plants flower only in spring and flowering lasts just a few weeks.

As a result, it is not easy to collect enough biomass from petals every year for the commercial production of X.

To increase the production of the chemical X your company decided to re-direct the production of chemical X from flowers to leaves of the same plants. The rationales behind this decision are:

  • these plants have big leaves,
  • leaves’ growth is not seasonal’ and
  • leaves and flowers have the same genome, and all genes involved in X production exist in leaves.

You are the lucky postdoc who has to run this project. You need to design a strategy to conduct this project. 

You need to:

  1. Design a transgene and explain its every component (you can design more than one transgene): 20 marks
  2. Design a vector that contains your transgene: 20 marks
  3. Design a strategy for the generation of the transgenic plant: 20 marks
  4. Design a strategy to confirm your generated transgenic plant: 20 marks
  5. Expression of genes Xin leaves could change the expression profiles of other genes. How can you assess the global molecular changes in leaf cells? : 20 marks

Your report:

A 1000+ word review. You can add pictures and diagrams if required.  Use paragraphs to separate different parts of the review. Show in bold critical components of the gene silencing mechanisms.

You must clearly address a research topic ? The information presented must be accurate and logically organised ? You should demonstrate an innovative solution to an industry challenge/problem.

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