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DNA Repair (Amst). 2002 Aug 6;1(8):579-600.

Arabidopsis thaliana, a versatile model system for study of eukaryotic genome-maintenance functions.

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  • 1Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, 1007 ALS Building, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-7301, USA.


The genome of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana encodes many orthologs of human genome-maintenance proteins, and in several important cases plant DNA repair and mutation-antagonism functions resemble their mammalian counterparts more closely than do those of established microbial models. These orthologs, in conjunction with the powerful tools now available for work with Arabidopsis and the practical advantages of its small size and rapid life cycle, now make it an attractive model system for study of eukaryotic DNA repair and mutagenesis. Already, null mutations that inactivate proteins involved in repair of DNA double-strand breaks or in DNA translesion synthesis and are lethal in mice have proved to be tolerated by plants. This review compares in some detail the genome-maintenance activities encoded by plants, mammals and microbes, and describes important Arabidopsis tools and life cycle characteristics. It concludes with selected examples that illustrate Arabidopsis advantages and/or reveal new insights into genome-maintenance functions of general interest.

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