Plants like animals are living beings. However, unlike animals, plants don’t move around or consume physical food. So, there are several differences between plants and animals. We know that animals have DNA, but do plants also have the same?
Do plants have DNA?
Yes, plants do have DNA like every other living being. Although there may be differences at the physical level, both plants and animals have DNA in the same double helix shape. Like in animals, DNA materials are made of nucleotides.
So, let us explore more about the DNA of plants.
What is DNA?
The word DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid. It is contained within the membrane-bound cell structures of the nucleus, mitochondria, and chloroplasts. It is universal to all living organisms.
It is the hereditary genetic material that carries information for the structure and the functions of the plants.
Thus, it helps the plant take shape and become as it becomes. However, sometimes, due to environmental and internal factors, the DNA of the plant may get modified or mutated. It is the process through which plants evolve and adapt to new situations.
DNA is a simple molecule that consists of four nucleotides, each having some sugar, nitrogen, and phosphorous bases. Due to bonding, the DNA appears as a spiral ladder known as a double helix. This structure is further packed with rope-like structures known as chromosomes. So, the DNA generally appears as a dark mass of chromatin.
During the 1800s, an Austrian Monk named Gregor Mendel postulated that genetic material existed. He used his famous pea plant experiment to show that plants inherited factors like colors.
After nearly seventy years, James Watson and Francis Crick proposed the double helix as the possible structure of the DNA in 1953.
They also showed that the two strands of the DNA ran in opposite directions. This set the base for the research on DNA and science has successfully determined the exact nature and structure of the DNA.
The information encoded in the DNA helps in determining the development and structure of the plants.
This information is stored in the nucleotides and amino acids of the DNA. A second molecule called ribonucleic acid (RNA) copies the molecular structure of the DNA and helps extract the information outside the DNA. It directs the production of proteins and decides the form and shape of the plant. Each code is unique to the DNA of a single plant.
Genetically Modified Plants
Science has developed at a rapid pace in the modern era. Today, scientists have successfully been able to understand and modify the genetic material as per the requirements.
Since DNA decides the characteristics of the plant, modifying it would enable the characteristics of the plant. It is done by controlled mutations of the plant.
Today genetically modified plants have enabled farmers to achieve an increased yield, high tolerance, and adaptability. It has helped several countries meet the world food requirement by producing bumper yields. Genetically modified crops are indeed the future of plants.
Thus, plants do have DNA like every other living organism on this planet.