Utilizing sodium alginate pellets for delivery of DNA

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Exhibit Hall 4 (Austin Convention Center)
MacKenzie F. Patton , Biology, University of Texas, Tyler, Tyler, TX
Juan Macias-Velasco , Biology, The University of Texas at Tyler, Tyler, TX
Daymon Hail , Biology, University of Texas, Tyler, TX
Blake R. Bextine , Department of Biology, University of Texas, Tyler, TX
Sodium alginate, a polysaccharide, is a potential vessel for the delivery of nucleic acids to plants. These nucleic acids could be utilized to alter gene expression in plants. One proposed method for controlling pest populations is to use said alteration of gene expression via RNA interference (RNAi).  RNA interference is a cellular process by which a gene’s expression is down-regulated in response to the introduction of some RNA stimulus. Introduced double stranded RNA (dsRNA) is recognized and digested by the cell; the resulting short RNAs are then incorporated into an RNA induce silencing complex (RISC) which digests messenger RNA (mRNA) targets containing sequences complementary to the introduced dsRNA. In this preliminary study, DNA was used instead of RNA, because of DNAs greater stability and ease of production. The pyrroltnitrin gene (PRN) was amplified and different quantities of PRN were added to sodium alginate pellets with and without pores. DNA extractions were then performed on the pellets with and without an alginate extraction step. Pellets were then tested for leeching and degradation rates. Once this was completed pellets were placed in sandy media with tomato plants in order to check for root uptake. Samples were taken from the soil, pellets, stems, roots, and leaves of each plant. PRN levels were analyzed for each sample via PCR and gel electrophoresis.
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