Welcome To Strange Science News. Scientists at the University of Manchester
have discovered a way to make trees grow bigger and faster. Published in the journal, Current Biology,
they manipulated two genes in poplar trees in order to make them grow larger and more
quickly than usual. Professor Simon Turner who led the research
says “The rate at which trees grow is determined by the rate of cell division in the stem.
We have identified two genes that are able to drive cell division in the stem and can
override the normal growth pattern. This discovery paves the way for generating
trees that grow more quickly which will contribute to meeting the needs for increased plant biomass
as a renewable source of biofuels, chemicals and building materials.
The two genes, called PXY and CLE, control the growth of a tree trunk. When overexpressed,
making them more active than in their normal state, the trees grew twice as fast as normal
and were taller, wider and had more leaves. Most plants, including crops, respond to adverse
environmental conditions with lower growth rates that result in correspondingly lower
yields. In the future it may be possible that manipulating the expression of the PXY and
CLE genes can override environmental signals that normally alter plant growth.
The team now plans to work with a forest products company to test their findings in the field. For more information about this story, please
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