PerspectiveBook Review

Book Review: Plant Gene Expression

Science's STKE  22 May 2007:
Vol. 2007, Issue 387, pp. pe26
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3872007pe26

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Review and commentary on Regulation of Gene Expression in Plants: The Role of Transcript Structure and Processing, edited by Carole L. Bassett. Springer, New York, 2007, 204 pp. $129, ISBN: 978-0-387-35449-1.

Abstract

Whereas many important biological discoveries have been made using plants, subsequent progress in some areas of plant research has fallen behind that in other organisms for which funding and in vitro assays are more readily available. Gene expression is one such field in which importance continues to grow because many potential plant biotechnology–based solutions to global problems depend on regulating the expression of specific genes. Previous limitations to exploring gene expression in plants have been partially mitigated by recent advances in genomics, genetics, and transformation techniques. The book Regulation of Gene Expression in Plants: The Role of Transcript Structure and Processing, edited by Carole L. Bassett, summarizes our current understanding of plant gene expression, with an emphasis on transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulation. The topics covered in six chapters include differences in messenger RNA (mRNA) structure caused by variations in transcription start and polyadenylation sites, alternative splicing, regulation by small RNAs, and mRNA transport and degradation. The chapters vary in depth, quality, and the degree to which the emphasis is placed on plants rather than eukaryotes in general. However, this slim volume is a useful review of gene expression in plants. The question of whether or not all differences in mRNA structure have functional importance remains open.

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