J.C. REVY, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY J.C. REVY, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Plant genetics. View of a petri dish culture of Thale cress plants, Arabidopsis thaliana, a member of the Cruciferae (cabbage family). This small plant is widely used for genetics research, and by molecular biologists studying developmental processes in plants. A number of factors make A. thaliana an ideal subject: a short generation time (5 weeks); a high seed number per plant (10,000); a small genome (about one tenth the number of base pairs as wheat); a tendency to self-fertilization (which leads to genetic uniformity and stability); and a susceptibility to infection by Agrobacterium tumifaciens (which means that the plants can be genetically transformed by plasmids).
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