A novel system biology model has been developed which mimics the procedure of wood formation that will allow scientists to forecast the effects of switching off and on pathway genes. These genes are involved in producing lignin, which is a primary component of wood. The model has been built on more than three decades of research that is led by Vincent Chiang of the North Carolina State University. This model is expected to speed the process of engineering trees for precise needs in biofuel, timber, paper, pulp, and green chemistry applications.
In the initial stage, the scientists predicted the outcomes of the modifying multiple genes that are involved in lignin biosynthesis. This is considered as a better option rather than working with a single gene at one time through trial and error, which is a time-consuming and tedious process. With this type of model, it is possible for scientists to ask regarding the preference for the type of wood and they can easily offer the genes that need to be modified. This is expected to be very beneficial, particularly when there is an enormous number of probable combinations with 21 pathway genes.
This is only possible with integrated analysis that will allow looking at this overall process at a system level to check how proteins, genes, and other component work together in order to regulate the production of lignin. This study is expected to represent one of the most comprehensive model of a single pathway which is in a single plant species. Furthermore, this model is likely to serve as a foundation for work in the coming years and can also expand in order to incorporate new processes and components.