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Growing plants in space again



​Time has come for yet another plant experiment onboard the International Space Station (ISS) to be operated remotely from the N-USOC control room in Trondheim.

12.09.2016 07:00   |   Carina Helle Berg

​On September 9 preparations was made to start the 12 days long experiment called Plant RNA Regulation, an experiment designed by Dr. Imara Perera, North Carolina State University, USA and developed by NASA Ames Research Centre, Moffet Field, California.

In two repetitions, small seedlings of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana are grown for 6 days each. The seedlings in the two repetitions of the experiment are exposed to two different gravity levels, with otherwise identical environmental factors. The objectives of the experiment are to profile the transcriptional and post transcriptional changes associated with early shoot and root development at μ g and 1 g, and to monitor and characterize protein profiles of developing shoots and roots. Dr Pereras hypothesis is that plant adaption and responses to µg involves novel regulatory «small RNAs».

After the seedlings have grown for 6 days each, they are frozen at -80°C and returned to the science team via the Falcon 9 - Dragon Space X-10, currently planned for November 2016. Analysis by the science team will reveal whether or not Dr Perera’s hypothesis is valid.

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