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IUPAC name N6-furfuryladenine
CAS number 525-79-1
RTECS number AU6270000
Molecular formula C10H9N5O
Molar mass 215.21 g/mol
Appearance off-white amorphous powder
Melting point

269 to 271 °C (decomposes)

Boiling point


Crystal structure cubic
S-phrases S22 S24/25
Related Compounds
Related cytokinin
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their standard state
(at 25 °C, 100 kPa)

Infobox disclaimer and references

Kinetin is a chemical analogue of cytokinins, a class of plant hormone that promotes cell division. Kinetin was originally isolated by Miller and Skoog et al as a compound from autoclaved herring sperm DNA that had cell division-promoting activity. It was given the name kinetin because of its ability to induce cell division, provided that auxin was present in the medium. Kinetin is often used in plant tissue culture for inducing formation of callus (in conjunction with auxin) and to regenerate shoot tissues from callus (with lower auxin concentration).

For a long time it was believed that kinetin was an artifact produced from the deoxyadenosine residues in DNA, which degrade on standing for long periods or when heated during the isolation procedure. Therefore, it was thought that kinetin doesn't occur naturally, but since 1996 it has been shown by several researchers that kinetin exists naturally in the DNA of almost all organisms tested so far, including human cells, and various plants. The mechansism of production of kinetin in DNA is thought to be via the production of furfural - an oxidative damage product of deoxyribose sugar in DNA - and its quenching by the adenine base converting it into N6-furfuryladenine, kinetin.

Since 1994, kinetin has been thoroughly tested for its powerful anti-aging effects in human skin cells and other systems. At present, kinetin is one of the most widely used components in numerous skin care cosmetics and cosmeceuticals internationally. There are some reports published on other biological effects of kinein in human beings, for example its effects as anti-platellet aggregation factor reducing thrombosis formation, and its ability to correct a genetic diseases of RNA missplicing.


In 1939 P. A. C. Nobécourt (Paris) began the first permanent callus culture from root explants of carrot (Daucus carota). Such a culture can be kept forever by successive transplantations onto fresh nutrient agar. The transplantations occur every three to eight weeks. Callus cultures are not cell cultures, since whole tissue associations are cultivated. Though many cells keep their ability to divide, is this not true for all. One reason for this is the aneuploidy of the nuclei and the thus caused unfavourable chromosome constellations.

J. van OVERBEEK (Rijksuniversiteit Utrecht) introduced in 1941 coconut milk as a new component of nutrient media for callus cultures. Coconut milk is liquid endosperm. In nature it stimulates the embryo to grow which it supplies at the same time with food. Results yielded from callus cultures showed that its active components stimulate the growth of foreign cells, too.

In 1954, F. Skoog (University of Wisconsin, Madison) developed a technique for the generation and culture of wound tumour tissue from isolated shoot parts of tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum). The thus developing callus grows when supplied with yeast extract, coconut milk or old DNA preparations. Freshly prepared DNA has no effect but becomes effective after autoclaving. This led to the conclusion that one of its breakdown products is required for cell growth and division. The substance was characterized. It is called kinetin and has been classified as a phytohormone.

The technique developed by F. Skoog proved to be ideal for the study of the regeneration capacity of callus cultures. Callus and tissue cultures can both be kept in light or in dark. Under light exposure produce the cells at the surface plastids, chlorophyll and carotenoids.

Callus cultures are useful for many purposes of pure and applied research. Among these are:

  1. The production of secondary plant products and enzymes by tissue cultures.
  2. Their use for the synthesis of starting compounds that are subsequently modified to yield the desired product.
  3. Their use as starting material for the vegetative propagation of plants.
  4. Their use as basic material fore high-yield cultivars (maintenance breeding).
  5. Their reverting to tissue cultures allows the conservation of virus- or fungi-free and resistant cell lineages.

Kinetin is also claimed to have dermatologic effects and is used in some cosmetics.


    • D.W.S. Mok & M.C. Mok,Cytokinins: chemistry, activity and function. (1994)C RC press Inc., Boca Raton
    • see series of papers by Barciszewski J. et al. on the natural identification of kinetin, sucha s Barciszewski, J., Siboska, G.E., Pedersen, B.O., Clark, B.F.C. and Rattan, S.I.S. Evidence for the presence of kinetin in DNA and cell extracts. FEBS Letters, 393, 197-200, 1996.
    • Barciszewski, J., Rattan, S.I.S., Siboska, G. and Clark, B.F.C. Kinetin - 45 years on. Plant Science, 148, 37-45, 1999.
    • Rattan, S.I.S. and Clark, B.F.C. Kinetin delays the onset of ageing characteristics in human fibroblasts. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 201, 665-672, 1994.
    • Rattan, S.I.S. N6-furfuryladenine (kinetin) as a potential anti-aging molecule. Journal of Anti-Aging Medicine, 5, 113-116, 2002.
    This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Kinetin". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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