Studies for a BRIC Experiment to Investigate Gravity-Induced Changes in Gene Expression 961394
A BRIC (Biological Research In a Canister) experiment to investigate the effects of reduced gravity at the molecular level using Arabidopsis has been initiated. To ensure an efficient BRIC experiment, a series of ground-based studies have been conducted. These studies were designed to determine: 1) the ideal seed density to obtain enough plant tissue from a single canister; 2) optimum germination surface for tissue recovery after freezing in liquid nitrogen; 3) yield and quality of mRNA from small amounts of tissue; 4) time point to freeze the seedlings; and 5) changes in gene expression that may be caused by stresses during launch. Results indicate that: 1) up to 10,000 seeds could be germinated on a 100 mm diameter Petri plate; 2) nylon membrane is the best surface for recovery of plant material after freezing; 3) depending on the age of the seedlings at the time of freezing, 20 to 40 g of tissue was obtained from Petri plates that fit in a single canister; 4) tissue from one canister yields adequate amounts of RNA to perform differential display.