Clean gene

2019-03-08 06:02:01

A PLANT gene that mops up toxic heavy metals from soils and stores them in the leaves has been identified by researchers in San Diego. Julian Schroeder of the University of California and his colleagues have discovered the gene responsible for producing phytochelatins, naturally occurring plant peptides that bind to harmful heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury (EMBO Journal, vol 18, p 3325). “The hope is that this phytochelatin gene, together with other genes that help detoxify metals, if co-expressed will optimise the removal of metals,” says Schroeder. The goal is to breed plants that take up toxic metals, detoxify and store them in their leaves,