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If the ultraviolet radiation from the sun damages human DNA to cause health problems, does UV radiation also damage plant DNA? The answer is yes, but because plants can't come in from the sun or slather on sunblock, they have a super robust DNA repair kit. Today, the UNC School of Medicine lab of 2015 Nobel laureate Aziz Sancar, MD, PhD, has published an exquisite study of this powerful DNA repair system in plants, which closely resembles a repair system found in humans and other animals.
The study, published in Nature Communications, is the first repair map of an entire multicellular organism. It revealed that the "nucleotide excision repair" system works much more efficiently in the active genes of plants as compared to humans. And this efficiency depends on the day/night cycle.
Findings - Understanding - DNA - Repair - Organisms
"These findings advance our understanding of DNA repair mechanisms common among all organisms and may also have practical applications," said co-corresponding author Ogun Adebali, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher in the Sancar lab.
First author Onur Oztas, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher in the Sancar lab, said, "DNA damage accumulating in a plant will impair its growth and development, so boosting the excision repair system could be a good strategy for improving crop yields."
Sancar - Sarah - Graham - Kenan - Professor
Sancar, the Sarah Graham Kenan Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his studies of excision repair, which is now widely viewed as the major mechanism of DNA repair - including repair of UV damage - in living organisms. Most prior studies of this repair system have been in mammalian and bacterial cells; much less is known about how the system works in plants. However, plants must have efficient systems for DNA repair, since they cannot easily avoid sunlight and of course need it for their growth.
For the study, Oztas and colleagues used...
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