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Assuming a woody plant naturally has a valuable compound, say a kind of sterol. During an RNA-seq analysis, almost all genes involved in the biosynthesis pathway of this sterol were identified in the plant. I was wondering what are the benefits of this finding? If this study was done in a bacterium or fungus instead of a plant, the importance of this finding is clearer, at least for me, since these simple organisms can be the factory of valuable compounds by genetic engineering technology. But, what about a woody plant which cannot be engineered and grown in bulk?

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  • $\begingroup$ In most-cases these secondary-metabolites have some-or-some ecological importance. Such as a bitter taste, a pungent smell etc. to repel certain species of herbivore animals (including insects) $\endgroup$ – Always Confused Sep 9 '16 at 17:13
  • $\begingroup$ Somtimes steroidal-compounds and phytoestrogens (they are not steroidal but similar activity), disrupt insect's (caterpillar's) molding cycle and kill them. $\endgroup$ – Always Confused Sep 9 '16 at 17:14
  • $\begingroup$ Indeed the compound synthesis come from in-born error-of metabolism, they get selective advantages while evolution. $\endgroup$ – Always Confused Sep 9 '16 at 17:17
  • $\begingroup$ They are no-more called "waste-products". Now they are called as the group of compound used for defense and communication. $\endgroup$ – Always Confused Sep 9 '16 at 17:18
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    $\begingroup$ Thank you very much for all your comment, Always Confused! $\endgroup$ – Mary Sep 20 '16 at 15:44
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You essentially gave the answer in your question. By identifying the biosynthetic pathway(s) required to create the compound in the plant, its natural host, those genes can then be cloned and transferred into an expression system like bacteria, yeast, or other plant cells like Arabidopsis thaliana to generate larger quantities of the compound of interest than would be possible from harvesting and processing the original plant itself.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, that's right. However, I'm looking for other benefits of such finding. In fact, this plant has the highest amount of this kind of sterol amongst nut. How can this information be useful, especially in practical science? Please share me any suggestions if you have. $\endgroup$ – Mary Aug 10 '16 at 16:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Mary your original question did not include this information. Please edit your post and add these additional details. I answered the question as it was posed. For what purpose are you seeking this information? If it is for a class or other educational purposes, please read our homework policy. Briefly, you are required to show your previous research and thinking on the matter, not just pose a question and expect it to be answered in full. $\endgroup$ – MattDMo Aug 10 '16 at 17:55

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