Research CommentariesBOTANY

An RNA-Based Information Superhighway in Plants

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Science  06 Mar 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5356, pp. 1486-1487
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5356.1486

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In their commentary, Jorgensen et al. propose that plants contain a mechanism designed to transfer information over long distances--similar in function to an animal's bloodstream or nervous system. The authors integrate recent work on a phenomenon called "cosupression," in which introduced genes can suppress expression of the plant's own genes, with other research on how plants resist viral infections and suggest that information-carrying molecules (likely RNAs) move through the plant in long tubes (phloem) and regulate cell physiology at a distance.