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The Warsaw Voice » Other » July 1, 2009
Biotechnology
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Modifying Flax
July 1, 2009   
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The process begins with germinating ordinary flaxseeds. When green shoots are sent out, the places where the root turns into the stem (hypocotyl) get artificially infected with bacteria carrying DNA chains with new genes that encode three enzymes to initiate the synthesis of polyhydroxybutyrates. The compounds are prepared so as to reach maximum activity in the process.

The infected plant sections are forced to intensively form new, undifferentiated cells and then undergo a growth process through which the cells begin to differ. The result are new plants, each obtained from a single cell. The plants are then sorted according to the amount of the new gene, and the strongest ones, with the new feature pronounced the most prominently, are picked for further cultivation.

The polymer is synthesized by specialized cell parts in the stem only, and the synthesis does not disturb the plants' normal growth. The new element, which does not exist in normal cells, is biodegradable. Under laboratory conditions, transgenic plants with the new genetic code grow in phytotrons that provide a stable nutrient medium with optimal light, humidity and temperature until the plants can be transplanted to natural conditions, such as a greenhouse or a field. When the plants adapt to the new environment, they start to produce seeds ready to be sown into the ground.
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