Friday, June 24, 2005

Genetic cache miss

A while ago, I wrote about the mystifying discovery that a particular type of plant seems to keep a "backup" copy of its DNA around, to serve as a "genetic cache". In conversation today with one of the post-docs in my lab, who works on plants and knows a lot about them, this paper came up and his reaction was "Ah, that's all a bunch of nonsense. There's no such thing." Apparently the consensus in the plant biology community is that the results reported in the paper are due to contamination from pollen ie the supposedly missing DNA was reintroduced through pollen from another plant that was still floating around in the jars in which the plants were grown. Guess we'll have to wait and see -- if this is real, it'll reappear, otherwise it'll just quietly migrate into the "Stuff that sounded really cool, but turned out not to be true" pile [like this].


Anonymous Bill Tozier said...

Yeah, but... look up "flax genotrophs" on Google (or in ISI ScienceWeb) sometime for a reason to think something is going on.

12:44 PM  

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