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Mussels (Mytilus sp.) and plant in glue research

Mussels (Mytilus sp.) and plant in glue research

G352/0131

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Credit

JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Mussel glue research. Several mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) with a transgenic tobacco plant (Nicotiana sp.) used to express the mussels' water-resistant protein glue. Mussels bind them- selves to rocks by their byssus (beard), strands of glue which can be seen between the mussels at lower centre. There is great demand for a strong glue which can bind wet surfaces. The plant has been genetically altered to contain mussel genes. It is hoped the plant will produce the glue protein, as it is similar to a protein (extensin) found in plant cell walls. Mussel glue may be used to mend broken teeth and bones. This research is by Dr McQueen-Mason at York University, England.

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