Green Genes – DNA Inside Chloroplasts
One of a series of articles for post-16 students published by Science and Plants for Schools (SAPS). Chloroplasts evolved from photosynthetic bacteria and contain DNA encoding a remnant of their original bacterial genes.
This booklet discusses how the study of chloroplast genes has helped biologists understand plant evolution, and in particular the transfer of genes from the chloroplast to the nucleus during evolution. The section ‘Plant Biotechnology - Future Hopes’ considers the potential for manipulating chloroplast biochemistry to improve the nutritional qualities of crops, and also discusses the introduction of genes encoding pharmaceutical proteins directly into chloroplast DNA. The development of transgenic crops is controversial and can provide a rich subject for debate.
The booklet also contains a box called ‘Stromules’ which briefly describes the dynamic, narrow tubules that project from many plastids and considers their function.