The Mre11 protein is essential for the long-term genetic stability of the cell and acts to ensure the efficient repair of DNA damage. Vertebrate cells lacking Mre11 function are not viable. However, we report here that this is not the case in the model plant Arabidopsis. We have isolated two different Arabidopsis lines containing a T-DNA copy integrated at a different point in the MRE11 gene (AtMRE11). Both mutant plant lines were hypersensitive to DNA-damaging treatments but exhibited strikingly different developmental phenotypes. Furthermore, we also observed lengthened telomeres in these plant lines, showing that AtMre11 is involved in telomere maintenance. Thus, the lines we have isolated are unique tools with which to study in detail the role of AtMre11 in the mature plant
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