Buried treasure: bioactive plant seed proteins evolving inside hosts (ARC Discovery Project administered by The University of Western Australia) (2019–2022)
Scientists now realise that new genes and proteins appear frequently. A recent discovery in plant seeds involves
DNA sequence insertions in a gene that makes two proteins instead of one. This project will examine how
evolution in plants shortcuts the creation of new proteins by burying one within another. It will reveal a new family
of buried seed proteins, determine the rules for burying them and search plants for new examples. The project
aims to prove this evolutionary mechanism found in plants is rapid, important and widespread. The first examples
from plants create strongly bioactive products so the ability to dig for similar plant events will reveal new and
bioactive natural products with biomedical and biotechnology applications.