Submitted to: Leafy Spurge News
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: November 2, 2000
Publication Date: January 1, 2001
Citation: Chao, W.S. 2001. Micro-array: a new technology in the quest to vanquish leafy spurge. Leafy Spurge News. Vol. XXIII(1):7.
A new wave in (weed) science has emerged. This wave is propelled by advanced molecular techniques. With these techniques, we may be able to understand the biology of weeds better than any of us could have imagined even 3 years ago. In last issue of Leafy Spurge News, you were introduced to me, Dr. Wun Chao, a new USDA-ARS research plant molecular geneticist in the Plant Sciences Research (PSR) unit in Fargo. You were also introduced to some terms like "cDNA library" and "expressed sequence tags or ESTs" used by myself and others who do research in genomics (the efforts to map and sequence all genes and to unravel their function). cDNA libraries and ESTs are the basic tools for our genomics project on leafy spurge. For practical reason of time and money, we are not planning to sequence the entire genome of leafy spurge. However, we plan to examine the expression of genes that control the growth and development (dormancy) of leafy spurge root buds. The technique we will use is called the micro-array technology. This is the first time that this new and powerful technique has been applied to develop new knowledge in weed science. Why is it important to study the expression of genes? Genes and their products (proteins and enzymes) regulate physiological processes like bud dormancy and growth. The expression of genes is influenced by developmental factors like stage of growth and age and environmental factors like temperature, light, biological control agents, etc.