Why Arabidopsis Why
It's a long way to go to claim myself as a plant biologist. I wasn't either fascinated by the intriguing beauty of plants as a kid nor inspired by my mom from her gardening habit. If I say either of these one, it would be a lie. As a biochemisty undergrad, most of courses encompassed examples from animal system, except two: Basic Plant Biochemistry and Plant Biotechnology. Ethical issues and hardship of getting human samples are predominant reasons to avoid that field. So, it left me to go through another direction. Plant science. Later I found it really cool, because you may grow plants the way you want, collect samples and there is no ethical issues and too much obstacles. But, I have encountered something special when I started working with Arabidopsis. You may work inside a lab. Grow then in chamber and do whatever required experiment to understand any sorts of mechanism.
Here comes consequences.There is always few frequently asked questions regarding the plant I use. Does it produce any grain? Does it provide fruits? Does it has ornamental value? and so on. To make the long story short, it is a weed!
Fellow researchers think Arabidopsis as a toy which has no economic value. Sometimes they make fun out of me about Arabidopsis. The worst case happened when they provide a new name for me. ARIBIDOPSIS (Arif + Arabidopsis)!
Here comes superficial logic behind Arabidopsis. Think about E. coli for a second. It's a simple bacteria like any other ordinary one. Scientists started to treat it as model and knowledge gained through the study of it has been applied for decades. Same thing is true for single celled yeast, mice, C. elegans,drosophila too.
The following features have made Arabidopsis as a model plant.
- Life cycle, more precisely from seed to seed, it takes 2-3 months.
- Through each life cycle, it provides thousands of seeds.
- Easy to grow and require less space.
- Genome is relatively small, although contains necessary processes require for plant development.
Honestly speaking, these bullet points are available in every text book. The aim of this "Why Arabidopsis Why" series is to bring some ground breaking examples where knowledge gained from Arabidopsis are applied or simulated on other plants and even beyon plant sciences.
You will find all published posts from this series from following links: